Gunmen attack Nigeria school

2011-12-16 17:00

Kano - Gunmen have attacked a military-run school in northern Nigeria, an air force official said on Friday, reporting two officers wounded, although a doctor said four personnel were killed.

"There was an attack on the air force comprehensive school by unknown gunmen," the official said on condition of anonymity of the incident late on Thursday at the boarding school outside the city of Kano.

"Two of our officers have been injured and are receiving treatment in hospital."

A doctor said on condition of anonymity that four air force personnel had been killed and another two wounded.

The secondary school was under heavy guard on Friday, while a series of other incidents also occurred in the area, including the shooting of a police officer.

Boko Haram

Police spokesperson Magaji Majia initially said a police station had been attacked by gunmen, leaving an officer wounded. He later amended his statement, saying an officer had been shot and wounded on his way into work early on Friday.

Residents reported that gunfire also broke out in another area on the outskirts of Kano on Thursday night, and that a neighbourhood group raided a house and found audiotapes of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram who was killed in 2009.

Nigeria's north has been hit by scores of attacks blamed on Boko Haram, but Kano, the north's largest city, has not been targeted since the latest round of violence attributed to the group began in 2010.

It was not immediately clear whether Thurday night's incidents were linked.

The school operated by the air force in an area known as Kwa began the Christmas holidays on Friday. High-ranking air force officials were at the campus throughout the day, but refused to provide any details on the incident.

"Around 8:30pm [20:30], we started hearing gunshots coming from within the school compound which lasted for about 30 minutes," a local farmer said.

"We thought it was the students firing shots in celebration as the school closed for holidays today, but later we realised it was attacked by gunmen."

Military assault

Another resident said he heard what sounded like a gun battle.

The doctor said six air force personnel were brought to his hospital on Thursday night with gunshot wounds.

"Three died on admission and another one died later," he said. "The two others that have been critically injured are being treated."

Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of attacks, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, and the group also claimed responsibility for the August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in the capital Abuja that killed at least 24 people.

There has been intense speculation over whether the group has formed links with outside extremists, including al-Qaeda's north African branch. It is believed to have a number of factions with varying aims.

It launched an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault which left some 800 dead, then went dormant for about a year before emerging with a series of assassinations.

Bomb blasts have since become frequent and have grown in sophistication.