Suspected Islamic extremists killed more than 30 students Tuesday in northern Nigeria in an attack the country’s president calls "heinous, brutal and mindless."
The attack occurred in the middle of the night at the Federal Government College Buni Yadi - a state-run, co-educational school in Yobe state.
Students and their parents told VOA’s Hausa service that the attackers set fire to dormitories and then killed students with machetes and knives. The witnesses said when the students tried to escape, the attackers forced them back inside the burning buildings. The militants killed only male students.
No one has claimed responsibility but officials blame Boko Haram.
A statement from President Goodluck Jonathan's office says the students were guiltless and killed by "deranged terrorists and fanatics who have clearly lost all human morality and descended to bestiality."
Boko Haram is trying to turn northern Nigeria into a conservative Islamic state. It is blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009, including attacks on mosques, churches, villages, and government facilities.
Yobe is one of three states where President Jonathan declared a state of emergency last May and launched operations to destroy Boko Haram camps. Despite the effort, large-scale attacks have continued.