Islamic militants set fire to a Nigerian boarding school early Tuesday morning, killing dozens of students. The militants, believed to be affiliated with the extremist Boko Haram organization, reportedly locked the doors of the school's living quarters before firebombing it. At least 29 students, all boys, are dead from the attack. Earlier, school officials said to the AP that the death toll could be as high as 40.
The AP spoke to a teacher at the school, who described what he saw as he made his escape:
"Students were trying to climb out of the windows and they were slaughtered like sheep by the terrorists who slit their throats. Others who ran were gunned down." He said students who could not escape were burned alive.
As of Tuesday, over 300 Nigerians have died in attacks attributed to Boko Haram in the past month alone. Just one day ago, the country's president Goodluck Jonathan addressed the increased violence by telling reporters that his government was making strides to quell terrorist activity Nigeria."We will get over it," he said of the crisis. But many in the country are growing increasingly impatient with the security forces' failure to prevent the violent, almost indiscriminate, attacks. The northeastern town of Izghe, in the troubled Borno region, has been attacked twice within the span of a week, killing over 100 people total. A local senator, Senator Ali Ndume, told the BBC that the state of emergency imposed by the government there to tackle the terrorist attacks clearly wasn't effective.
Thousands of people have died in the country since 2009, when Boko Haram launched a terrorist campaign with the ultimate goal of forcing Nigeria to become an Islamic state. The country's population is almost evenly split between Muslim and Christian adherents, however. Coupled with what's long been seen as an ineffective government effort to contain the violence, the conflict has only deepened in recent weeks. Although a large bulk of the violence stems from Boko Haram attacks, both Muslim and Christian Nigerians have been targeted in sectarian conflicts, according to Human Rights Watch.