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Students executed one by one: Islamic extremists suspected

Names were read out from a hit list as the students went to their death.

  • Ibrahim Garba
  • Nigeria
  • October 4, 2012
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Unidentified gunmen massacred at least two dozen university students in northern Nigeria Monday night in the city of Mubi near the border with Cameroon. The attacks lasted more than an hour, with gunmen targeting specific students by name rather than indiscriminately firing.

Suspicion fell immediately on Boko Haram, a violent Islamist organization in northern Nigeria that has typically attacked Christian churches and security forces. Student leaders, meanwhile, suggested that the killings may have been tied to internal student political campaigns. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Aside from Boko Haram's history of bloody attacks on civilians, the very name of the group – which means "Western education is a sin" – stokes suspicion of their involvement. But even if the group is found to be involved, the purpose of such an attack would not be part of some global jihad.

"I cringe at the 'Western education is a sin' [translation] – there should be a modifier there. It's really Western education in Nigeria. There's a tendency to view this issue as a little wider than it is," says Gordon Bottomley, an associate at Ergo, a New York-based intelligence and advisory firm.

Boko Haram leaders associate Western education with the elites of northern Nigeria, whom the militants see as corrupt and insufficiently Islamic, says Mr. Bottomley. Boko Haram wants northern elites, politicians, and religious figures to adopt a stricter version of sharia law and maintain the north's identity as an Islamic region in a Christian-majority country….

….The state police spokesman, Ibrahim Mohammed, said the dead included 19 students from a local polytechnic university, three from a health technology school, a former soldier, and a security guard. The attack took place around 11 p.m. at night Monday and lasted for more than one hour in the suburb of Mubi called Wuro-fatuji, where student housing is located.

“Unidentified gunmen invaded an off-campus residence of the students and called out the names of their victims from a hit list whom were thereafter executed, one after the other. We have yet to blame anybody but investigation will reveal this soon," Mr. Mohammed said.

An official with Federal Polytechnic Mubi, a local university, says that 26 students of the institution were among those massacred in the attacks, stating that the sporadic shooting kept residents of Mubi awake all night as many scampered for safety.

Full Story: College students massacred one-by-one in Nigeria

Source: Christian Science Monitor
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