POTISKUM, Nigeria (AP) - Suspected Islamic extremists attacked an agricultural college in the dead of night, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dormitories and torching classrooms, the school's provost said - the latest violence in northeastern Nigeria's ongoing Islamic uprising.
The attack, blamed on the Boko Haram extremist group, came despite a 41â„2-month-old state of emergency covering three states and one-sixth of the country.
It and other recent violence have led many to doubt assurances from the government and the military that they are winning Nigeria's war on the extremists.
Provost Molima Idi Mato of Yobe State College of Agriculture told The Associated Press that there were no security forces protecting the college. Two weeks ago, the state commissioner for education had begged schools and colleges to reopen and promised they would be guarded by soldiers and police.
Idi Mato said as many as 50 students may have been killed in the assault that began at about 1 a.m. Sunday in rural Gujba. "They attacked our students while they were sleeping in their hostels. They opened fire at them," he said, adding that most victims were aged between 18 and 22.
Soldiers recovered 42 bodies and transported 18 wounded students to Damaturu Specialist Hospital, 25 miles north.
Usman said almost all those killed were Muslims, as is the majority of the college's student body.