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Nigeria gunmen raze teachers residence at girls school

  • A screengrab taken on April 19, 2014, from a video obtained by AFP shows a man claiming to be the leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau. The leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for a bombing in Nigeria's capital that killed at least 75 people, in a video message obtained by AFP on April 19. AFP PHOTO / BOKO HARAM RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / BOKO HARAM" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMP

KANO, Nigeria: Gunmen in northern Nigeria set fire to staff residential building at a girls' secondary school Sunday, but the 195 students sleeping in their nearby dormitories were unharmed, police and a teacher said.

The attack in Bauchi state came less than a week after Boko Haram kidnapped 129 teenage schoolgirls from the Chibok area of Borno state in the northeast. Forty-four of those girls have since escaped.

"At about 2:30 a.m., unknown gunmen carried out coordinated attacks in Yana town," Bauchi's police spokesman Haruna Mohammad said.

They burned "several buildings including a staff quarters of a girls' secondary school, an eight-block police quarters, a Shariah court and the local government secretariat," he told AFP.

Mohammad said it was not clear who carried out the attack and provided no details on casualties.

Boko Haram, an extremist group fighting to create a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has attacked Bauchi many times in an insurgency that has killed thousands since 2009.

A teacher at the school who requested anonymity said the attackers appeared to have deliberately avoided the student residential buildings.

"The gunmen only attacked the teachers' quarters but did not go near the girls' hostels," he said.

"We have 195 students staying at the hostels who are writing their [end-of-term] exams, but none of them were affected," he continued.

"It is a great relief, considering what happened in Chibok."

The Monday attack in Chibok, unprecedented in Boko Haram's uprising, has sparked global outrage.

With 85 girls still missing, locals have urged the military to launch a more robust rescue mission, claiming that the effort made so far is inadequate.

Parents have scoured the bushlands surrounding Chibok in a desperate attempt to rescue their daughters.

Locals have also urged Boko Haram to show compassion and release the girls who are likely being held in a forest area where the Islamists are known to have well fortified camps.

Boko Haram translates as "Western education is forbidden," and school attacks have featured prominently in its five-year uprising.

In a report released this month, the International Crisis Group described the Islamists as more divided than ever, with various factions pursuing different interests.

The attackers in Bauchi may have been members of a less hard-line Boko Haram cell, one not prepared to commit a mass abduction like in Chibok.

Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack ever in Nigeria's capital, a bomb blast that killed at least 75 people on the outskirts of the city during morning rush hour Monday.

 
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Summary

Gunmen in northern Nigeria set fire to staff residential building at a girls' secondary school Sunday, but the 195 students sleeping in their nearby dormitories were unharmed, police and a teacher said.

The attack in Bauchi state came less than a week after Boko Haram kidnapped 129 teenage schoolgirls from the Chibok area of Borno state in the northeast.

The Monday attack in Chibok, unprecedented in Boko Haram's uprising, has sparked global outrage.

Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack ever in Nigeria's capital, a bomb blast that killed at least 75 people on the outskirts of the city during morning rush hour Monday.


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