POTISKUM, Nigeria — Islamic militants attacked a boarding school before dawn Saturday, dousing a dormitory in fuel and lighting it ablaze as students slept, survivors said. At least 30 people were killed in the deadliest attack yet on schools in Nigeria's embattled northeast.
Authorities blamed the violence on Boko Haram, a radical group whose name means "Western education is sacrilege." The militants have been behind a series of recent attacks on schools in the region, including one in which gunmen opened fire on children taking exams in a classroom.
The attack killed 29 students and English teacher Mohammed Musa, who was shot in the chest, according to another teacher, Ibrahim Abdu. Police officers who arrived after the gunmen left and transported the bodies to the hospital confirmed at least 30 people were killed.
"We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. When I woke up, someone was pointing a gun at me," Musa Hassan, 15, told the Associated Press of the assault on Government Secondary School in Mamudo village in Yobe state. He put his arm up in defense, and sustained a gunshot that blew off all four fingers on his right hand, the one he uses to write.
He and teachers at the morgue said dozens of children from the 1,200-student school escaped into the bush, but have not been seen since. On Saturday, at the morgue of Potiskum General Hospital, a few miles from the scene of the attack, parents screamed in anguish as they attempted to identify the victims, many charred beyond recognition. Some parents don't know if their children survived or died.