Africa

Nigeria school killings condemned by Amnesty

  • 4 October 2013
  • From the section Africa
Media captionVictims' families gathered earlier this week to identify the bodies

The rights group Amnesty International says the killings of schoolchildren in Nigeria show an absolute disregard for the right to life and education.

In a report it says hundreds have been killed in attacks by militants and thousands have been forced from school.

On Sunday up to 50 students died when militants attacked an agricultural college in northern Nigeria.

The militant group Boko Haram, which means western education is forbidden, has targeted many schools recently.

Image caption Many school buildings in northern Nigeria have been burnt or damaged in a wave of attacks
Image caption Amnesty said this year the attacks had become more targeted and brutal

Nigerian authorities were urged to "provide better protection" for schools.

In the wake of the college attack earlier this week, officials told the BBC the government and military would work to increase protection in schools.

On Thursday, the authorities said they had bombed Boko Haram camps in response to the latest attacks, killing "many" militants.

An army spokesman said 15 people had been arrested.

Catalogue of horror

Amnesty has calculated that in 2013, scores of pupils and 70 teachers have been slaughtered.

Some 50 schools have been also burnt or damaged and more than 60 others have been forced to close.

In some cases students have been murdered in their sleep, and in others, burnt alive in locked dormitories.

BBC World Service Africa Editor Richard Hamilton says the report represents a catalogue of horror.

In May, Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three north-eastern states: Yobe, Borno and Adamawa.

Authorities launched a military offensive aimed at crushing the Islamists. Casualty figures vary widely but reports suggest hundreds of people have been killed.

Amnesty says it is not aware of anyone being prosecuted by the Nigerian authorities in connection with the school attacks.

"Thousands of children have been forced out of schools across communities in northern Nigeria and many teachers have been forced to flee for their safety," Amnesty's deputy Africa director Lucy Freeman said.

Some 15,000 students in Borno state have been stopped going to school because of the violence, Amnesty's report said.

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