The terrorists, thought to be from Boko Haram, set a locked hostel on fire, before shooting and slitting the throats of those who tried to climb out the windows. Some were burned alive.
Adamu Garba said he and other teachers who ran away through the bush estimate 40 students died in the assault that began around 2 a.m. Tuesday at the Federal Government College at Buni Yadi.
The co-ed school about 45 miles south of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, and difficult to communicate with because extremists last year destroyed the cell phone tower there.
Garba, who teaches at a secondary school attached to the college, said the attackers first set ablaze the college administrative block, then moved to the hostels, where they locked students in and started firebombing the buildings.
At one hostel, he said: ‘Students were trying to climb out of the windows and they were slaughtered like sheep by the terrorists who slit their throats. Others who ran were gunned down.’
He said students who could not escape were burned alive
The attackers also reportedly hurled explosives into student residential buildings, sprayed gunfire into rooms and hacked a number students to death.
A senior medical source at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Yobe’s capital Damaturu said the gunmen only targeted male students and that female students were ‘spared’.
‘So far, 43 bodies have been brought (from the college) and are lying at the morgue,’ said the source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to discuss death tolls.
Damaturu resident Babagoni Musa told AFP that four ambulances carrying dead bodies drove past his shop, which falls on the road from Buni Yadi.
‘They had tree branches on them which is a sign used here to signify a corpse is in a vehicle,’ he said.
People whose relatives were studying at the college had surrounded the morgue and were desperately seeking information about those killed, forcing the military to take control of the building to restore calm, the hospital source said.
Yobe is one of three northeastern states which was placed under emergency rule in May last year when the military launched a massive operation to crush the Boko Haram uprising.
At least 40 students were killed in September at an agriculture training college in Yobe after Boko Haram gunmen stormed a series of dorms in the middle of the night and sprayed gunfire on sleeping students.