Zee Media Bureau
Potiskum (Nigeria): At least 42 students and one teacher were shot dead by suspected Islamist gunmen, radical Islamic section known as Boko Haram, in the northeast Nigerian town here on Saturday.
As per reports, the attackers set fire the Government Secondary School building in Mamudo town in Yobe state and shot pupils as they tried to flee.
The gunmen attacked students and a teacher in a boarding school, a police source said.
Some students were even burnt alive in the attack, police said.
While several students were being treated for burns, some were being treated for gunshots wounds.
Since 2010, dozens of schools have been torched and unknown scores of students killed among more than 1,600 victims slain by extremists.
Yobe is one of three states where President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May, sending thousands of troops to the area.
Meanwhile, some of the survivors said suspected militants arrived with containers full of fuel and set fire to the school.
"From accounts of teachers and other students who escaped the attack, the gunmen gathered their victims in a hostel and threw explosives and opened fire, leading to the death of 42."
Aliyu said security personnel were combing the bushes around the school in search of wounded students who were believed to have escaped.
"So far six students have been found and are now in the hospital being treated for gunshot wounds," he said.
Mamudo is some five kilometres from Potiskum, the commercial hub of the northeastern state of Yobe, which has been a flashpoint in the Boko Haram insurgency in recent months.
A local resident who did not want to be named confirmed the attack.
"It was a gory sight. People who went to the hospital and saw the bodies shed tears," he said.
"There were 42 bodies, most of them were students. Some of them had parts of their bodies blown off and badly burnt while others had gunshot wounds."
He said the attack was believed to be a reprisal by Boko Haram for the killing of 22 of the Islamist group`s members during a military raid in the town of Dogon Kuka on Thursday.
A senior police officer said the gunmen started "shooting sporadically and subsequently set the students` hostel abaze."
He said the students were asleep when the attackers stormed their school.
Residents said the latest incident has sparked panic among students in the area and many of them have left their dormitories for home even though schools are still in session in the state.
Mobile phone lines have been cut in much of the northeast since the start of a military offensive targeting Boko Haram on May 15, and access to the area is limited.
Residents of Potiskum and adjoining towns and villages reportedly have to go to Dagauda near Bauchi state to make and receive telephone calls
With AFP inputs