A bomb attack on a school by radical Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed the lives of 48 students and teachers, with a further 79 injured after a suicide bomber entered the school morning assembly yesterday.
The school, a boys state science school in Potiskum was targeted early in the morning by a bomber dressed in a school uniform as 2,000 students waited for the morning assembly. The death toll has been slowly rising since the attack yesterday, and it is feared there is more bad news to come. The Daily Mail newspaper quotes one teacher from the school who said: “There are some that are critically injured and I am sure the death toll will rise”.
Boko Haram, which literally means ‘Western Education is Forbidden’, have been conducting a campaign of terror over northern Nigeria for nearly five years, targeting schools and people who have received or give a ‘western style’ of education, and those who contravene Sharia law.
Suppressing modern education is a key feature of self declared Islamic Caliphates where they now exist, including territories in the north of Nigeria controlled by the Boko Haram ‘Caliphate’, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), with whom Boko Haram enjoy a de-facto alliance.
Breitbart London reported last week on the new educational regime being ushered in for ISIS controlled areas in Syria, where schools are being closed pending a programme of teacher re-education. The schools will re-open, the Islamic State claims, when the staff are ready to teach a new Koran-only curriculum, with all sciences and arts banned.
It was their attacks on schools that brought Islamist group Boko Haram to international prominence earlier this year, after the abduction of over 270 school girls from a school in the North-east of the country. Although the school had been closed previously due to fears of Islamist attack, the girls kidnapped had returned to take their final year exams in Science.
Taking the advantage of their return, and presumably offended by girls taking examinations in ‘haram’ sciences, the group struck and took the girls into the jungle. It is believed since Boko Haram forced conversions to Islam and arranged marriages for the girls to militant fighters. 200 remain unaccounted for.
The Nigerian government has been facing mounting criticism over its handling of the situation in the north of the country, as announcements of hostage releases and cease-fires with the terrorist group appear to be less fact than fiction. Even as the present cease-fire theoretically holds, Boko Haram have released footage showing the capture of new towns, parading tanks, trucks and black flags in the streets.