Suicide Blast Kills 47 Students In Nigeria

by Lauren Barbato

An alleged suicide bombing at a Nigerian school killed nearly 50 students on Monday, BBC News reports. The site of the bombing was a boys-only math and science school located in Potiskum, a town in northeast Nigeria where the militant Islamic group Boko Haram has been terrorizing villages over the last year. Authorities believe the militant group, which was responsible for abducting nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls last spring, is responsible for this latest attack.

Causalities are currently unconfirmed, but at least 47 people were killed in the attack, and nearly 80 were injured. According to news reports, the explosion hit the assembly hall at the Government Science Secondary School Monday morning. One witness told BBC News that the suicide bomber was disguised as a student. "It was a devastating attack. Dozens of children lost their lives and many more were injured. Some had broken limbs," the witness told the BBC.

A student at the boys-only school also detailed the attack to CNN, telling the news source: "We were waiting for our teachers to come and address us at the assembly ground when we heard a huge explosion."

Potiskum police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu confirmed to CNN that the suicide bomber was dressed as a student at the boys-only school. "We suspect Boko Haram is behind the attack," Ojukwu added.

This is the second suicide bombing to strike Potiskum in the last week. Just last Monday, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb during the annual Ashura ceremony, a special Shiite religious event. The attack killed 15 people.

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Boko Haram has been staging violent attacks, killing hundreds, in northern Nigerian villages over the last few years, but the militants made international headlines in 2014 after they abducted 276 schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok. About 219 schoolgirls still remain missing.

In October, it was reported that the kidnapped schoolgirls would be released, after the Nigerian government announced that it formed a truce with Boko Haram. However, that truce never materialized and the 200-plus teenage girls are still being held against their will. According to Al Jazeera, Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in a recent video that the girls have converted to Islam and have been sold into marriage. "They are in their marital homes," Shekau said in the video.

Boko Haram's name loosely translates to "Western education is forbidden," and their crusade against the West has been focused on terrorizing girls and boys attending non-Muslim schools. Like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram hopes to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, a country that is predominantly Christian.

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