Friday, 24 February 2012

Nigerian Schools on Fire

23 February 2012 Last updated at 18:19 GMT Share this pageEmailPrint
Nigeria school set alight in Maiduguri
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Nigeria under attack

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A primary school has been attacked in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri.

Classrooms were set on fire overnight - the second non-denominational school to be targeted this week.

Reporters say it bears the hallmarks of an attack by the Islamist Boko Haram group, which has recently threatened to attack non-Islamic schools.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", wants to establish Islamic law in Nigeria.

It has been responsible of a series of deadly attacks and assassinations across northern Nigeria in the past 17 months.

The education officer for Borno state said two classrooms were completely burnt down overnight and other buildings at the government-run school were still alight on Thursday morning.

He told the BBC Hausa Service that gunmen held the school's security guard hostage as four men entered the premises to start the fires.

Boko Haram wants Nigerian children to attend Islamic schools
The gunmen then prevented residents living nearby in the suburb of Budum from putting out the blaze.

Earlier in the week, another government school, in Kolumgna suburb, was targeted and four classrooms were destroyed.

The BBC's Bilkisu Babangida, formerly based in Maiduguri, says both areas are strongholds of Boko Haram in the mainly Muslim city.

Boko Haram first came to prominence in 2009 when hundreds of its followers were killed when they attacked police stations in Maiduguri - the group's base.

Its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was arrested but died in police custody.

In 2010 the group started to stage drive-by shootings on government targets in revenge for his killing.

Last year, it carried out suicide bombings on high-profile targets such as the headquarters of the UN and police in the capital, Abuja.

More on This Story
Nigeria under attack
Boko Haram - militants with a cause

Killed for his beard?
Is Nigerian army killing innocent Muslims after militant attacks?
Kano schools empty
Will dialogue end the insurgency?
Who are Boko Haram?
Will attacks divide Nigeria?
What Kano attacks mean
Can Boko Haram be stopped?
Maiduguri: Nigeria's city of fear

Mapping Nigeria's divides
Key facts, figures and dates

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