UK & World News

  • 3 October 2012, 18:10

Nigeria: Police Raids After Student Massacre

Nigerian soldiers have been carrying out raids on houses in the town of Mubi, in the country's north east, following the killing of at least 40 students.

The victims - reported to be both Christians and Muslims, although that has not been confirmed - were shot or had their throats cut while in student accommodation near the polytechnic school at which they were studying. 

The attack happened in a volatile area of the country where Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has carried out scores of previous attacks.

Motives for the latest attack are still unclear, with some officials suggesting the massacre may have been linked to a recent student election.

Police have given an official death toll of 25, saying at least 22 of the victims were students but a school official said the death toll was higher. 

"Based on accounts from locals, at least 40 people were killed in the attack," the unnamed official from the polytechnic school said. "Twenty-five were the ones taken to the morgue. At least 15 of the victims whose families are in Mubi were taken away by relatives."

"There's a heavy deployment of soldiers, police and (secret police) personnel in Mubi following the killings," he said. "They are combing all parts of the town in the hope of tracking down the killers."

Apparently, the attackers knew their victims and called them out by name in a student housing area off-campus.

Federal Polytechnic Mubi is an ethnically mixed school with several thousand students.

Last week, Nigeria's military conducted a high-profile raid on the Boko Haram group in Mubi, killing a senior figure and arresting 156 suspected members.

The Islamist extremists have been blamed for more than 1,400 deaths since 2010 as part of their uprising in northern and central Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.

Boko Haram has claimed to be seeking an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, but its demands have repeatedly shifted and it is believed to include a number of factions with varying aims.

Imitators and criminal gangs are also believed to have carried out violence under the guise of the group.