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Boko Haram extremists attack school in northeast Nigeria

FILE - In this file photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Nigerian Soldiers man a check point in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram.
FILE - In this file photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Nigerian Soldiers man a check point in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi,File

POTISKUM, Nigeria – Suspected Boko Haram extremists attacked a business school in northeast Nigeria on Friday with gunfire and two bomb blasts.

A suicide bomber died when he blew himself up prematurely in the car park of the College of Administrative and Business Studies in Potiskum, according to a security officer and a hospital worker. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

A second bomb exploded in the college dormitory, but all the students apparently were already in classrooms.

Five students were wounded by gunfire and another 45 people are being treated for injuries sustained as they jumped out of windows and over walls to escape the attackers, the hospital worker said.

Those injured include schoolchildren from the neighbouring Government Science Secondary School, who also thought they were under attack. At least 40 students were killed when Boko Haram attacked that school last year.

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In Friday’s attack, the gunmen arrived around 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) and opened fire at the gate of the business school, witnesses said. Security guards armed only with clubs ran away, said the witnesses who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

It is the first school attack reported since a 3-month-old multinational offensive drove Boko Haram out of towns and villages seized last year where the insurgents, who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, declared an Islamic caliphate. Boko Haram means “Western education is sinful.”

Troops from neighbouring countries joined the fight as Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist group began attacking across borders.

Nigeria’s military says the main fighting force of Boko Haram has fled to strongholds in the vast Sambisa Forest of northeast Nigeria, where Nigerian troops this month rescued nearly 700 girls and women held in captivity by the insurgents and destroyed about 20 camps.