Survivors of the Boko Haram atatck on the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in the Gujba Local Government of the state have opened up on the ordeal and revealed how they are are still haunted by it.
The students had just returned from their mid-term break when mayhem was unleashed upon them by the militants and many promising young lives were cut short.
Nigerian Eye reports:
Not long before the gruesome attack, the students of Federal Government College, FGC, Bunu Yadi in Yobe State had returned from a mid-term break sharing stories with each other, not knowing what awaited them.
One of the survivors, who is the college’s Kitchen Prefect, said that all 53 students of the SS3 class stayed behind to read for their mock examination and had gone half-way. He narrated that on the night of the attack, they had group supper at the school Dining Hall:
“After dinner, we were having prep when we heard gunshots, even though we didn’t think much of it as security operatives in the area normally give warning shots most evenings. I nevertheless I advised the junior students to return to their hostels and sleep.”
At about 11:15pm the students noticed suspicious movement around the premises and after some of them shouted for help, confusion took over, all with the backdrop of most of the school on fire. The Kitchen Prefect revealed that the last thing he heard before escaping into a nearby bush, were the screams for help from his fellow students. He disclosed that it still haunts him: “It is the worst thing one could ever imagine,” he narrated, in tears.
A staff of the school, who requested anonymity, described how the incidents unfolded that tragic night: “We caught a dirty-looking man spying the school area on Sunday around 2:00am, very close to the Vice Principal’s house, so handed him over to security personnel, but he was released after pleading that he had simply lost his way.”
He added that on Monday afternoon around 2:00pm a helicopter hovered above the school and eventually left. “We also noticed the military check-point was deserted,” he said, adding that the attackers drove into the school playing loud, nondescript music in nine Hi-Lux trucks, motorcycles and sophisticated weapons. “They trapped the students in their hostels and that’s how the tragedy began,” he said.
Additional sources disclosed that teachers, parents and residents swooped in to rescue the youngsters, long before a medical team arrived from Damaturu to tend to the wounded and evacuate the slain.
Alhaji Mohammed Kati Machina, the school’s PTA Chairman, said a total of twenty-nine corpses of students were recovered after the attack.
A JSS2 student who only gave his nickname as ‘Goni’ said it began to unfold when he was returning from prep and saw a strange, young man. “He held a gun, advancing towards our room, so I dashed in and quickly hid under my bed,” he said, adding that the armed man suddenly began to shoot sporadically. “When I realized he was shooting towards my direction, I ran out, straight at him and he grabbed me and told me he’d not shoot me,” he said, after which he was taken to the mosque area to join some young students.
Goni saw most of his classmates there, who told him they were screened before taken there. “They checked our private parts and armpits and confirmed that we didn’t have hair there,” he said, as he further revealed that the assailants took mattresses and curtains and used them as inflammables to raze the school buildings. “We all lay flat, until they were done around 4:00am and two of them returned and asked that one of us should come,” he said, but none of them did, so he volunteered.
One of the gunmen then gave him a flashlight and warned them to keep still when military men arrive, so they’ll not be shot. Goni said the gunmen warned that they should all stay off school, especially the girls. “They said they should get married or risk being killed whenever they return,” he said.
Mohammad, a JSS 3 student who sustained a bullet wound on his back, said the attackers were close to 100 and some of them came in through the girl’s hostels. “They even apologized when they realized it was a girls’ hostel.
Yobe State Police Commissioner, Sanusi A. Rufai confirmed that all the 29 killed were male students. “None of the female students were killed,” he said.
The father of two of the students killed cried profusely while retrieving their corpses from the hospital, and he said that he loves his children more than anything on Earth, “But, God loves them more and He knows why they died in these circumstances.”
Another man in Damaturu Specialist Hospital was standing at a distance from his son, one of the survivors who sustained a bullet wound and a cut on his throat, and he was shedding tears. “I can’t imagine why anyone would do this to innocent children…my boy wouldn’t do anything to harm anyone…he’s just a child for God’s sake,” he cried, even as hospital staff consoled him.