By Alkasim Abdulkadir
The stream of our national consciousness has since moved on from the carnage at Mamudo near Potiskum in Yobe State, where on the dawn of the 6th of July the trajectory of the lives of children at a boarding house was scarred forever. This incidence belongs to the worse tragedies meted out on school children from the genocide in Kigali to Sarajevo, the massacre in Utoya, Norway and the siege that lasted for 52 hours in Beslan, Russia amongst others.
Before the attack on the children of Mamudo, there had been a string of attacks on students and educational infrastructure in Kano and Borno states. There were also skirmishes that preempted it. A month before, in June, soldiers had an altercation with students at an Islamiyyah school, the beating received by the students at the hands of the soldiers was alleged to have angered Boko Haram members.
Three days later an attack by the insurgents killed seven children, two teachers, two soldiers, and two militants. The next attack claimed nine students who were writing their exams. On the 4th of July, they went a step further and killed a school headmaster and wiped out his entire family.
These are the sequence of events that culminated in the killing of at least 42 students out of a student population of 1200 students. An eye witness was quoted as saying “It was a gory sight … There were 42 bodies, most of them were students. Some of them had parts of their bodies blown off and badly burnt while others had gunshot wounds.”
However Sani Mohammed a student who lived through the horrendous incidence and sustained bullet wounds on his arm, survived to narrate his tale told Daily Trust that “we were sleeping in UBE hostel, when some gunmen broke into the room and poured petrol on our bodies; I woke up and discovered that they have surrounded all of us. One of them asked us to lie down on the floor, we all complied. They separated the younger ones among us and asked them to stay behind.
“They opened fire on about 20 of us, the next thing I knew was seeing myself on the hospital bed,” he said.
The systematic nature of the elimination comes to fore in the experience of another student who narrated that they were rounded up and examined. “we were rounded up by the attackers; they later conveyed us to the principal’s office for screening. They checked our armpits and genital parts to see if it developed hair, an indication that you are matured. They released the underage among us and opened fire on the matured ones.
“I just cannot say how I managed to escape from the office, because they threw explosives into the office after they opened fire on us, I just found myself running in the bush,” he said.
The tragedy elicited widespread condemnation all over the world, in a fit of melancholy President Goodluck Jonathan remarked the perpetrators, will certainly go to hell. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam also called for independent investigations into the killings. Canada and France also joined in the condemnation and called for an inquiry.
Senate President David Mark described the attack as “barbaric and wicked’’.
“Even in war situations, children and women are protected. Killing children is akin to cutting down the future of a people. This is inhuman, barbaric and unacceptable to any right-thinking member of the society,” he said.
“For no reason, the lives of these promising children were needlessly cut down by the heartless people. This cannot be a way of life; enough of this bloodshed,’’ he said.
Yobe State governor Ibrahim Geidam under whose jurisdiction it happened called the attackers cold-blooded murderers and “devoid of any shred of humanity”.
These attacks are occurring in a region where it is estimated that 10 million children are out of school, as such it is not only disheartening but very tragic. It will take a very strong will like that of Malam Ahmed Sani for parents to allow their kids attend schools in Yobe and Borno States.
Sani who lost one of his two children to the incident at GSS Mamudo was quoted as saying “these people know what they did and God will surely handle them. But I would like to assure you that, I will not stop taking my children to boarding schools.”
In Mamudo the children received death instead of an education because they obeyed God’s command of seeking knowledge, -Iqrah. The children of Mamudo cut down in search of light.
Source: Citizens Platform
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