Both gunmen and suicide bombers stormed the campus of Nigeria’s Kano Federal College of Education on Wednesday, killing 13 people and injuring 34 others, authorities reported. While no group has taken credit, the attack has all the signatures of the jihadist terror group Boko Haram.
According to the Agence France-Presse, the attackers stormed the campus, which serves as one of the largest training grounds for future teachers in the country, and participated in an extended gun battle with police. According to Kano State police commissioner Adelere Shinaba, the group appeared to target the school of education directly, and no other school of the university.
Subsequent information surfacing from the attack seems to indicate that Boko Haram terrorists organized and performed the assault. One man, a student who was having lunch when the attack began, is quoted in Nigeria’s Vanguard as hearing the attackers mention Boko Haram to him in broken English. “They were saying [in pidgin English], ‘No be you say Boko Haram no they exist’ [Is it not you who say Boko Haram doesn’t exist?],” he testified.
Kano, one of the largest cities in northern Nigeria, has been a prime target for Boko Haram attacks. As the BBC notes, Kano was attacked five times in four days in July, including another attack on a university. President Goodluck Jonathan, who has come under fire from critics for not doing enough to prevent Boko Haram’s spread throughout the northeast of the country, responded to the “dastardly attack” with another assurance that the federal government would respond adequately to the threat.
The attack occurred in the same week the governor of Kano accused Jonathan of “lacking the political will” to take on the Boko Haram threat and focusing more on attacking opposition party members than terrorists. It is one of many recent assaults, however. Just this week, Boko Haram attacked a marketplace outside of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and have threatened the city with complete capture. They have conducted attacks that particularly target Christians; according to one estimate, Boko Haram killed 326 Christians during the past week alone, prompting Nigerian Christian leaders to sound the alarm on a potential ethnic cleansing of their people from the northeast of the country.
Boko Haram is now believed to control a territory within Nigeria the size of Ireland, and to be using the Islamic State’s playbook in attempting to build a caliphate within that territory, rather than simply killing infidels and terrorizing villagers. The group rose to prominence in April after the kidnapping of more than 200 girls from the town of Chibok, Borno, most of whom have never been heard from again.