As families of students of the Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, Yobe State, killed on Tuesday by suspected insurgents grieve, some survivors of the incident yesterday narrated their narrow escape and how their roommates were killed by the gunmen.
One of the survivors, a JSS 3 student (name withheld) who escaped with a bullet wound on his back through the window told LEADERSHIP Weekend that all the gunmen were young men and boys who wore military uniforms.
He said: “They asked us to gather in one hostel and started shooting sporadically, but all my roommates were killed and burnt inside the hostel.”
Another student who escaped with a cut on his head and a broken arm said some of the students were slaughtered while others were shot dead.
It was gathered that 10 of the injured students were taken to hospitals in Borno, Kano and Bauchi states for treatment.
A village head who does not want his name in print said that the military checkpoint in the area was removed a day before the attack. “I was surprised when the military checkpoint disappeared on Sunday evening and school pupils were left to their fate,” he said.
When our correspondent visited the Gen. Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, some parents could not identify corpses of their sons because they were burnt beyond recognition.
“I lost my lovely son who pleaded with me to allow him to stay back at home for a few more days after the school resumed, but I refused his request. Now I can’t even identify his corpse. God grant him and others who were killed Aljannah Firdausi,” he said.
No fewer than 43 students were killed by the gunmen who also burnt their school premises and hostels.
Among those who lost their children was the Emir of Fune, Alhaji Baba Saleh Idrissa. An associate of the emir who sought anonymity said the murder of the emir’s son, Usman Saleh Idrissa, was unacceptable and barbaric.
He said: “Our safety is no longer guaranteed. We feel that any time these gunmen can strike because they are still launching attacks in villages and our people are fleeing their homes. We call on the gunmen to stop killing innocent people and accept dialogue with the federal government to bring peace in the northeast and Nigeria in general.
“When I heard the information of the killing of innocent students, I was shocked. My condolence goes to the families of the slain students; it is unfortunate that innocent school children will become targets of gunmen every time,” he said.
An eyewitness, Malam Sani Chairman, said the gunmen numbering over 150 entered in the college and started shooting from different directions while the students were shouting for help; the attackers shot dead anyone that came out of the hostel.
A survivor who identified himself as Bukar Suleimam said that he heard gunshots from afar and sensed that danger was looming in the school. He hinted that he escaped into the bush with his friend Buba.
Chairman said: “We had already escaped before they arrived on the scene; we dashed into the bush and hid there. We could hear the screaming of the people from our hideout.”
Another survivor said the gunmen who struck at midnight “entered our hostels and told us to surrender all our money and, before I knew what was happening, one of them hit me with his gun. I screamed and sought an escape route.
According to him, the attackers were Kanuris. “I am afraid to say it, but they (insurgents) were Kanuris because I heard them speaking in Kanuri language,” he said.
Samaila Idrissa said they operated for more than four hours without any security agents in sight. (Leadership)