|Nigeria extremists kill students in college attack||
Extremists attacked an agricultural college in the dead of night, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dormitories and torching classrooms in an ongoing unrest in northeast Nigeria.
As many as 50 students may have been killed in the attack that began at about 1 a.m. Sunday in rural Gujba, Provost Molima Idi Mato of the Yobe State College of Agriculture, told The Associated Press.
Suspected Boko Haram militants have targeted several schools in recent months, including a raid which killed 27 students and a teacher at a school in Potiskum, a town about 30 miles from the site of Sunday's attack.
Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched its uprising against the state in 2009, turning itself from a clerical movement opposed to Western culture into an armed militia with growing links to al Qaeda's West African wing.
According to Reuters, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in May, including Yobe, and ordered a military offensive aimed at crushing Boko Haram's insurgency.
There was an initial lull in the violence as Islamists fled bases in cities, forests and mountains across the northeast. Then the militants began revenge attacks on schools, seen as the focus of Western-style education and culture, then on the security forces and civilians believed to be helping them.
Most schools in the area closed after militants on July 6 killed 29 pupils and a teacher, burning some alive in their hostels, at Mamudo outside Damaturu.
Meanwhile, farmers and government officials are fleeing threats of imminent attacks from Boko Haram in the area of the Gwoza Hills, a mountainous area with caves that shelter the militants despite repeated aerial bombardments by the military.
A local government official said there had been a series of attacks in recent weeks and threats of more. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said Gwoza town was deserted when he visited it briefly under heavy security escort on Thursday.
More than 30,000 people have fled the terrorist attacks to neighboring Cameroon and Chad and the uprising combined with the military emergency has forced farmers from their fields and vendors from their markets.
The attacks come as Nigeria prepares to celebrate 52 years of independence from Britain on Tuesday and amid increasing political jockeying as the country gears up for presidential elections next year.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader