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Nigeria School Bombing Kills Nearly 50, Injures Dozens


At least 48 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at a school in northeastern Nigeria, many of them students.

The blast occurred Monday in the town of Potiskum, in the state of Yobe, as students gathered for a morning assembly at a government-run secondary school focused on science.

Medical workers said at least 79 people were injured in the blast, many of them seriously. Witnesses said the bomber was dressed like a student.

Potiskum is located in Yobe, one of three states placed under a state of emergency by the government last year due to the Boko Haram insurgency.

No claim of responsibility

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion fell on Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, whose name roughly means “Western education is forbidden,” has attacked schools before, most notably when it kidnapped more than 200 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in April.

The group was blamed for an attack in Potiskum one week ago, when a suicide bomber attacked a religious procession, killing more than two dozen people.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack and vowed to bring those responsible to justice. In a statement Monday Jonathan also extended his condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Yobe state.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is outraged by the frequency and brutality of attacks against educational institutions in the north of Nigeria.

On Monday, Muhammad Sani said he was dropping off his sons at the science school when the blast occurred, creating a noise so loud it shook the ground.

Sani said he saw children injured by the blast running by, their uniforms soaked in blood.

Sani said the blast broke the arm of one of his sons. Sani said he counted 30 dead bodies, and more than 70 injured.

Students angered

Babaa Bakura, an attorney and former student at the school, said a bomb had been planted at the school in the past, but was disarmed before it could explode.

As many as 2,000 students could have been at the school at the time of the blast, Bakura said, adding that police and soldiers who arrived to help after the bombing were chased away by angry students.

“They must have been pushed out kind of by the students who were kind of bitter with the whole thing. But I think the injured and the dead have been evacuated now.”

Police are investigating the bomb blast.

Boko Haram leader

On Sunday, Boko Haram released a new video that shows group leader Abubakar Shekau giving a speech and armed militants parading and celebrating in an unidentified area.

Nigeria's military has said Shekau is dead but undated videos featuring the bearded militant continue to appear.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in the past five years in its campaign to establish what it calls an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram has increased its attacks since the government announced last month that it had reached a cease-fire agreement with the group. Reported talks between the government and militants in Chad later collapsed.

Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi.