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Gunmen shoot dead 26 students at Nigerian college hostel

03 October, 2012

KADUNA: Gunmen shot dead at least 26 students in an attack overnight on their college residence in northeast Nigeria, a college spokesman said on Tuesday.

The attack took place at the Federal Polytechnic Mubi in remote Adamawa state late on Monday, the head of the information department at the college said by telephone.

"The killers went from room to room, slaughtering them one by one," said witness Muhammad Awal, who was not harmed in the attack. Some were shot, others killed with machetes, he said.

Adamawa state, like much of the north, has been targeted by insurgents, but police were also investigating whether the killings might have been motivated by a political feud inside the college. "We learned that when they came for the attack, they called out the names of some of the victims and killed them as they came out. Some they left alone, which gives us a clue that this was the work of insiders," said Adamawa police spokesman Muhammad Ibrahim. He put the toll confirmed by police at 25.

He said that the student halls had been raided by police last week as part of a sweep against Boko Haram terrorists. During the raid, police recovered weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade, dozens of homemade bombs, knives and automatic assault rifles. He added that it could not be ruled out that Boko Haram terrorists who had infiltrated the students were behind it.

A security source and several witnesses put the overall death toll from the attack at 40.

The Boko Haram terrorists group, which usually targets politicians or security forces, has also attacked students in the past and has cells in Adamawa. Security sources believe it has infiltrated several institutions, including colleges.

But police were also investigating the possibility that the killings were related to a dispute between rival political groups at the college over a student union election on Sunday.

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