Islamists in Nigeria attacked a boarding school, killing 29 students and a teacher as militants shot and burned them alive.
The students were shot and burned alive in the gruesome attack on Saturday, with children as young as 10 murdered as they tried desperately to flee.
The attackers are believed to be from a sect of Islam known as Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege.”
Terrorists from Boko Haram and other breakaway groups are blamed for more than 1,600 killings since 2010, The Associated Press found. The attack on the school in Nigeria is one of several similar attacks against schools providing western education in the country.
Attacks have been so frequent that President Goodluck Jonathan has declared it a state of emergency and deployed thousands of troops to combat militants. The government has seized back several towns, but the assault pushed Islamist militants to rocky mountains and caves, places that have become their base of operation to attack towns and schools.
In February, a different Islamist terrorist group killed seven foreign hostages who had been taken from a construction company compound. The killings led to questions of whether the Nigerian government was equipped to stop such attacks.
In Saturday’s attack, gunmen reportedly entered the Government Secondary School in Mamudo village at about 3 am.
The Islamist attackers killed 29 students and an English teacher.
“We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. When I woke up, someone was pointing a gun at me,” said 15-year-old Musa Hassan, who had four fingers blown off of his right hand when he tried to shield himself from a gunshot.
The attackers then used cans of fuel to set fire to the school’s administrative buildings and one of its hostels.
Dozens of teachers and students were able to escape into the bush, but they have not yet been found. Because many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, families do not know if their children are among the 29 students confirmed killed in the attack.