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Assailants kill at least 25 students in northeastern Nigeria

October 2, 2012 | 11:20 am
Federal Polytechnic school in Mubi  in Adamawa state, Nigeria

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Unknown assailants killed at least 25 polytechnic students in  northeastern Nigeria, invading the campus dormitory and shooting or stabbing their victims, authorities said Tuesday.

The  attack at Federal Polytechnic Mubi, in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state came as police press to curb violence attributed to the Islamic rebel militia, Boko Haram, which is active across much of northern Nigeria.

Last week, police rounded up more than 150 suspected members of Boko Haram. Authorities also claimed they killed Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa in the raid and seized many weapons as part of a wider crackdown in northern Nigeria designed to wipe out the militia. Boko Haram acknowledged Qaqa had been arrested by security forces, but denied he was killed.

Authorities also speculated that the attack at the polytechnic institute may have been linked to rival political factions there, after a recent student election. Campus politics, like local, state and federal politics in Nigeria, is often violent, though massacres are not common.

Nigerian media reports said assailants ordered students to line up  and give their names. Some were killed and others released.

Mubi reportedly has a mixed Christian and Muslim population, with victims from both faiths.

Boko Haram, which opposes secular education and secular governance, has attacked banking automatic teller machines, cellphone towers, schools, churches, mosques and police stations in recent months. It has destroyed some 30 mobile phone towers in northern Nigeria, crippling communications in some areas. The militia frequently assassinates Nigerian politicians and religious figures.

The rebel militia is responsible for more than 690 killings this year, according to the Associated Press, which keeps a count of deaths from attacks. The group made no  statement claiming responsibility for  the attack Tuesday.

Danjuma Aiso, a student who fled the polytechnic college, said a statement  had been circulated in recent days warning students to leave the institute, the Associated Press reported.

The institute has been closed temporarily.

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Photo: The gate of the federal polytechnic school in Mubi, Nigeria. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

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