News / Africa

Nigeria: Phones Down at Time of Deadly School Attack

The remains of the burned out Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2014.
The remains of the burned out Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2014.
VOA News
The Nigerian military says bad phone lines prevented soldiers from responding to an attack on a school early Tuesday that killed nearly 60 people.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
A spokesman for the Nigerian Joint Task Force, Eli Lazarus, says there were soldiers stationed near the Federal Government College Buni Yadi but because the phones were not working, nobody could reach them.

He says unidentified assailants attacked the school around 2 a.m. Tuesday, setting fire to buildings and killing students as they tried to flee.  

There has been no claim of responsibility, but local officials are blaming the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram for the attack.

Lazarus gave an official death toll of 29 but reporters who went to the local mortuary say 59 people were killed. The school is co-educational, but all of those killed were boys.

The governor of Yobe state, Ibrahim Gaidam, toured the ruins of the school on Tuesday and denounced the military's failure to protect the teenaged students.  

According to Nigerian newspaper reports, the governor said the soldiers assigned to protect the school had been withdrawn ahead of the attack.  

Lazarus says that a military checkpoint about eight kilometers away was recently taken down because of a Joint Task Force operation.

He also said it would not surprise him if the phone lines were deliberately cut ahead of the attack.

Fighters from Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin," have carried out similar attacks on schools, government facilities and other targets.

The group is blamed for thousands of deaths since launching an uprising against the government in 2009.

In a statement Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killings at the school, adding that "no objective can justify such violence."

Yobe is one of three states where President Goodluck Jonathan declared an emergency last May and launched operations to destroy Boko Haram camps.  Despite the efforts, large-scale attacks have continued.
 
VOA's Hausa Service contributed to this report.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AUGUSTINE from: NIGERIA
March 02, 2014 9:16 AM
THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA AT A TIME SAID MEMBERS OF BOKO HARAM HAD INFILTRATED HIS GOVERNMENT AND THIS IS EVIDENTLY SEEN WHEN THERE ARE ATTACKS AND CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IS LEAKED

by: marc from: houston,tx
February 27, 2014 7:17 PM
There must be Boko Haram infilterator at the top echelon of the Nigerian Army.How else can anyone explain these set of "coincedences".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More