A survivor of Saturday’s invasion of a secondary school in Yobe State has told the shocking story of how the gunmen carried out the premeditated attack4, leaving no fewer than 30 persons including students, teachers and private security guards dead.
The survivor, Mallam Jibo who worked as chief security of the school, narrate how the gunmen had visited the school on the night before the fateful day and made enquires about the principal.
According to Jibo, the gunmen enquired whether the principal resided in the school, came back the next day and carried out the attack. Jibo said the gunmen numbering over 20 broke themselves into two groups and while one group came from the main entrance of the school, others came in from the rear.
The attackers at the front gate were said to have poured chemical on the padlock which caused it to melt before they pulled down the gate. On entering, they rounded up the private security operatives at the gate and ordered them to lie down on the floor, facing the ground.
Meanwhile, the other group of gunmen were said to have gone to the rear where some vigilance group members mounted watch over the school. The vigilance members were also rounded up and brought to the main entrance where the other security men were lying down.
The gunmen were said to have enquired where the residence of the principal was, where the staff quarters were and the students’ dormitory. For the staff quarters, the gunmen were told that the quarters were outside the school premises.
They were said to have ordered one of the security guards, Haruna Adamu, to take them to the students’ dormitory, and, on getting there, they opened fire on the students, killing over 30 of them. The survivor said Adamu who went with them to the dorm was still missing, expressing fears that he might have been among those killed and burnt beyond recognition.
Jibo said “the gunmen came in early hours of the morning, shortly after the Fajr Prayer (early morning). They had come the previous night and asked if the principal stayed in the school. After they stormed the school premises, they knocked down the gate with a chemical substance and rounded up all the guards. Another set went to the back and rounded up the guards there, tied their hands and three heavily armed men brought them to the main entrance.
“They asked us where the student dormitory was and we showed them, then they dragged one of the guards on the ground and ordered him to follow them. We don’t know what happened but Haruna Adamu who followed them to the dormitory has not been seen since then. We suspect he was among those killed and burnt beyond recognition”.
It was learnt that the teacher killed with the students was Ibrahim Tikau, the school’s IRK teacher and not English as was reported. Another victim, Mallam Isa Malami Ali, a Qur’anic teacher was said to have been killed that night by the gunmen in Mamudo village, about 10km from Potiskum. Ali was said to have survived a similar attack by gunmen two months before he met his death.
Ali’s son, Malam Ahmadu, who survived the attack, said his father was shot while he was saying his prayers.
A classroom teacher who pleaded anonymity lamented that they were now targets of the insurgents’ attacks. He said students were yet to take their examinations for the third term. “Since the attack in Damaturu where six students and three teachers were killed, we and the students have not been able to concentrate for fear that we may be attacked any moment,” he said.
A student, name withheld, who survived the attack with gunshot wounds, however, said that he will still continue with education. This is even as all the students in the boarding secondary school in Potiskum have either run home or been taken away by their parents.
It was learnt that lack of communication network was responsible for the success of the attack as residents and eyewitnesses could not make calls to anyone for help.
A farmer, Malam Haladu, said he counted eight gunmen who carried out the attack.