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Yobe school killings forces closure of other schools

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 8, 2013 at 12:36 PM   |   Comments

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July 8 (UPI) -- Attacks on a government boarding school in Yobe, Nigeria that killed 42 students and a teacher Saturday have forced the closure of schools across the northern state.

Yobe governor Ibrahim Geidam announced his decision to shutter all schools until September, so authorities can find ways to better protect students and teachers from militant attacks.

"The closure is to allow the state government in collaboration with the Joint Security Task Force and community leaders to evaluate and evolve better and additional strategies that would ensure the safety and security of students and their teachers," said Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for the governor's office, in a statement.

The schools were due to close in August for holidays.

Authorities believe the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, whose name translates to a call to ban Western education, was behind Saturday's massacre.

Attackers used petrol to set fire to the government school in Mamudo town and shot students as they tried to flee the blaze. Others were able to hide.

"Many students escaped into the surrounding bushes with gunshot wounds," said Halliru Aliyu, a medic at Potiskum general hospital where the injured were taken. "Soliders who combed the area found six students with gunshot wounds and brought them to the hospital where they are receiving treatment."

Yobe officials said 205 schools have been burned down in the past year. Three attacks, including Saturday's, have occurred in the past month, since the military has begun a crackdown on militants in the area.

President Goodluck Jonathan in May declared Yobe and two other states in the predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria under state of emergency in response to Boko Haram violence.

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