Originally published in The Christian Post
At least 15 people have been killed and another 35 wounded after gunmen, suspected to be part of terror group Boko Haram, stormed a teacher training college in the northern Nigerian city of Kano and began firing on students.
“We heard several shots from the gate area and after a few minutes we heard an explosion at the theater,” said Sansei Omar, an English lecturer at the Federal College of Education who saw the attack from a neighboring building,Reuters reported.
“The attackers were wearing suits and were running and shooting everywhere.”
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, authorities have identified Boko Haram as the prime suspect. The Islamic extremist group has been heavily active in northern Nigeria for years, it has captured entire towns and has been known for attacking educational institutions.
There were two confirmed suicide bombers at the scene, though not all of the dead have yet been identified. AFP noted that most of the victims were in a lecture hall when two gunmen ran in and opened fire on students.
One witness said that the gunmen were dressed in black, and had shouted for all female students to lie face down.
Kano State police commissioner Adelere Shinaba said that police opened fire on the gunmen as soon as the shooting started, which detonated the explosives vest of one of the attackers.
The explosion reportedly brought down the ceiling in the room, where ‘pools of blood and the remains of the bomber’ could be seen.
“They were obviously suicide bombers,” said Shinaba. “One of our officers shot at one of the gunmen and the explosives on him went off, killing him on the spot.”
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned what he called a “dastardly attack” and added that “the government continues to do all within its powers to further enhance the ability of … security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism to a successful conclusion and provide greater security … across the country.”
The Nigerian army has been fighting back against the terror group, but has had limited success and has been criticized for its lack of effectiveness.
“It’s a complete and total disgrace, is my personal opinion,” Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans executive director Pastor Laolu Akande told The Christian Post in a phone interview earlier this week, referring to the government’s ineffectiveness.
“It is a disgrace that the Nigerian [army] is said to be retreating from this band of terrorists. I think it is a disgrace that they are not able to do the job. It is just totally unacceptable. The fact that the Nigerian government is also not cooperating with the American military to try and resolve the problem is also totally unacceptable.”
Concerns have also been growing that Boko Haram has aligned itself with terror group ISIS, which is active in Iraq and Syra.
Akande told CP that this link is allowing Boko Haram to “gather a greater boldness in their brutality,” and called on the U.S. and Western powers to add the Nigerian terror group in the global fight against terror.