Yobe Govt. orders schools closed in Potiskum after Boko Haram’s deadly attack

Posted by News Express | 11 November 2014 | 4,424 times

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Authorities in Nigeria’s northeastern Yobe State yesterday ordered schools closed in the town of Potiskum only hours after at least 47 people were killed – including numerous children – in a suicide attack on a local school.

“Governor [Ibrahim] Gaidam has ordered the immediate closure of all public schools around the Potiskum area until a full review of the situation is undertaken,” Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement.

On Monday morning, at least 47 people were killed in a suspected suicide attack on a government secondary school in Potiskum.

“Suicide bomber disguised as student blew himself up at assembly ground of Government Science Secondary School in Potiskum,” police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said via Twitter.

Ahmad Mukhtari, a local resident, had told Anadolu Agency earlier that the blast had occurred at the school just as students had entered the premises.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s school attack but Boko Haram, which has been fighting to enthrone Islamic rule in the region, is believed to be responsible.

Yobe State has suffered at least five major bomb attacks on schools since last year, which have left hundreds of students and teachers dead.

Nigeria’s three northeastern states – Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – all remain under a state of emergency imposed last year by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Yobe State Government says the rising violence appears to have proven the failure of the state of emergency.

“Governor Gaidam deeply regrets that all of these dastardly attacks took place under… emergency rule,” said Bego.

“In theory, the emergency rule declaration was a signal that more vigorous steps would be taken to protect the lives and property of people in the affected states and the that the full might of the federal government would be deployed to restore peace and security,” he added.

“Unfortunately, this has not been the case,” Bego insisted. “Instead of forcing insurgents and criminals to flee, the insurgents are forcing innocent people to flee.”

In recent months, the Islamist Boko Haram militant group has seized control of numerous towns and villages in the three states, declaring them part of an “Islamic caliphate.”

Hundreds of civilians have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in the attacks.

Bego said Governor Gaidam believed that President Jonathan “has a very urgent responsibility to explain… why murderous and callous insurgent and criminal attacks are still on the rise – despite the state of emergency.”

The current state of emergency rule is due to expire later this month.

It is not clear, however, whether the president plans to extend the state of emergency only three months before an upcoming general election.

Jonathan, for his part, condemned yesterday’s attack, pledging that his government would bring the culprits to justice.

“The president condemns the dastardly murder of the students at their school’s assembly ground as they prepared to begin another week of study in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families,” Jonathan spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement.

“He assures the grieving parents and people of Yobe State that, no matter how long it takes, the federal government will ensure that all those responsible for the senseless murder of so many promising youngsters – and continuing acts of terrorism across the country – are… made to pay for their atrocious crimes,” he added.

•Adapted from an Anadolu Agency report.

Source: News Express

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