The entrance of the Federal Polytechnic campus in Mubi, Nigeria, where… (AFP/Getty Images )
KANO, Nigeria — Unknown assailants killed at least 25 people at a polytechnic school in northeastern Nigeria, invading the campus dormitory and shooting their victims or cutting their throats, authorities said Tuesday.
The attack at the Federal Polytechnic school in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state came as police press to curb violence attributed to the Islamic rebel militia Boko Haram, which is active across much of northern Nigeria.
Police recently rounded up many suspected members of Boko Haram. Authorities also said they had killed Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa and seized many weapons as part of a wider crackdown in northern Nigeria designed to wipe out the militia. Boko Haram acknowledged that Abu Qaqa had been arrested by security forces, but denied that he had been killed.
The attack at the polytechnic institute may have been "fueled by campus politics" linked to rival factions after a student election, said Yushau Shuaib, spokesman for the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency.
Campus politics, like local, state and federal politics in Nigeria, are often violent, although massacres are not common. Mubi reportedly has a mixed Christian and Muslim population, and the victims were of both faiths.
The assailants apparently sought specific targets, Adamawa police spokesman Mohammed Ibrahim said.
"They called out their victims by name and shot or slaughtered them when they identified themselves," Ibrahim said in a phone interview. "The attackers killed 25 people in all, including 19 students of the Federal Polytechnic and three other students of the School of Health Technology."
Ibrahim said two security guards and a retired soldier were among the victims.
A relief official said 26 people were killed and 15 were wounded badly enough to be taken to a hospital.
Boko Haram, which opposes secular education and governance, has attacked automatic teller machines, schools, churches, mosques and police stations. It has destroyed about 30 cellphone towers in northern Nigeria, crippling communication in some areas. The militia frequently assassinates Nigerian politicians and religious figures.
The rebel militia is responsible for more than 690 killings this year, according to the Associated Press. The group made no statement claiming responsibility for the attack Tuesday.
Danjuma Aiso, a student who fled the polytechnic college, said a statement had been circulated in recent days warning students to leave the institute, the Associated Press reported. The college has been closed temporarily.
"We were to start our semester exams today but the school has been shut and we have been asked to leave," said another student, Hadiza Balarabe, who went to the city of Yola. "This is too bad."
Special correspondent Abubakar reported from Kano and Times staff writer Dixon from Johannesburg, South Africa.