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Published On: Wed, Feb 26th, 2014

Yobe: Outrage trails massacre of students

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Yobe - Outrage trails massacre of students
  • FG must act before we’re wiped out – Gaidam
  • Atiku weeps, says Jonathan chasing shadows

By Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja, Uche Uche, Damaturu and Mustapha Kwaru, Maiduguri

Strong condemnations trailed the latest massacre of some students of the Federal Government College (FGC), Buni Yadi, in Gujba local government area of Yobe state by gunmen suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

Although there were conflicting reports on the casualty figure, a senior staff of the college, Ismail Idris, told Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who visited the scene yesterday, that 29 of the students were killed while 11 other persons were injured in the attack which took place at about 11pm Monday night.

Other sources said up to 40 people were murdered in the attack after the insurgents surrounded the school from its outskirts while others entered and slaughtered the students in cold blood.

The college official said the injured ones were receiving treatment in various hospitals across the state.

Mr. Idris said the insurgents separated the boys from the girls, letting the girls go free while they slaughtered the boys, who according to him, had just resumed few days before the incident.

According to him, 40 houses including the school’s two laboratories for Biology and Physics; hostels, clinic and library were razed down, adding that 50 members of staff were affected. In effect, every structure in the school was torched during the attack.

Responding, Governor Gaidam recounted that: “It is most unfortunate that in the past one year, we have experienced these ugly and dastardly attacks by insurgents four times. The first attack was at GSS Damaturu where nine students were killed. The second one was at GSS Mamudo where they killed 24 students. The third one took place at College of Agriculture Gujba where they killed about 40 students. And now they have killed 29 students here at Federal Government College Buni-Yadi”.

The governor, while condemning that attack as “barbaric, wicked, callous”, decried that for “up to five hours when this massacre took place, there were no security agents around to stop or contain the situation.

“I have also been informed that the military here in Yobe state lack adequate number of troops on the ground….Even so; they must change their strategy of operation.

“If the military was pulling out some troops from the town and taking them somewhere for an operation, there must be some others left on the ground to deal with any unforeseen circumstance which might arise”, Gaidam stressed.

While sympathising with parents of students who lost their lives, he also prayed that through God’s intervention, the insurgency will soon come to an end.

The governor further decried that: “It is unfortunate that our children in schools are dying from lack of adequate protection from the federal government and this thing is happening only in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in the North-east part of the country”.

Governor Gaidam used the opportunity “to call on the President of the Federal Republic and the military high command to, as a matter of urgency, send more troops to Yobe so that they deal more effectively with the insurgency because currently there is not enough number of troops on the ground to cover all our schools in Yobe.

“The federal government should be much more serious than before to ensure that the inadequacies are addressed. Otherwise, they (Boko Haram) may gradually wipe out all the people in Borno and Yobe….

“The security men on the ground are not under the authority of Yobe state government. All security agents on the ground are under the federal government. So we are calling on them to live up to their responsibility”, he further appealed.

He announced a donation of N100 million to provide some form of relief to victims of the massacre.

Meanwhile, reacting to the killings, President Goodluck Jonathan, while condemning the latest carnage vowed to continue to prosecute the war against terror in the country.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said Jonathan “received with immense sadness and anguish, news of the callous and senseless murder by terrorists of scores of students at a college in Yobe state in the early hours of today.”

While condoling with the families of the victims, the statement said the president vowed that “The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continue to prosecute the war against terror with full vigour, diligence and determination until the dark cloud of mass murder and destruction of lives and property is permanently removed from our horizon”.

Also reacting to the massacre, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who was said to have burst into tears on hearing of the carnage, posited that the federal government’s response to the incessant killings in the North-east region only amounts to shadow chasing.

Atiku particularly frowned at the impression given by President Jonathan at his Presidential Media Chat on Monday that the government has been successful at pushing armed attacks to the fringes of the country.

“This will not be the first time in recent times that school children are being attacked, and it is particularly disheartening that the federal government is yet to devise a strategy of keeping our schools safe from terror attacks. If our counter-insurgency strategies are not strong enough to keep our children safe inside their schools, then one must wonder if such a strategy isn’t mere chasing shadows,” he queried.

According to him: “it is important that the federal government ups its counter-insurgency strategy and desist from taking credits in pushing armed attacks to the fringes, as the president would like to put it. No Nigerian’s life is less in value to another.”

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