A staff member inspects a burned building in the Government Secondary School of Mamudo in northeast Nigerian Yobe state, where Boko Haram gunmen launched attacks on student hostels on July 6, 2013, killing at least 41 students and a teacher.

Suspected Islamist Militants Attack Nigerian School, Killing Dozens

Islamic fundamentalists suspected in slaughter at a Nigerian school.

A staff member inspects a burned building in the Government Secondary School of Mamudo in northeast Nigerian Yobe state, where Boko Haram gunmen launched attacks on student hostels on July 6, 2013, killing at least 41 students and a teacher.

A staff member inspects a burned hostel on July 6, 2013, in the Yobe state of Nigeria after an attack by Boko Haram gunmen. Another attack on a Yobe school Tuesday left dozens dead.

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A Nigerian school is reeling after a terrorist attack left dozens of students dead.

According to The Associated Press, suspected Islamic militants set fire to a locked hostel filled with students, burning some alive. Students who attempted escape had their throats slit or were shot.

"There were burnt bodies of students who cannot be easily identified," State Police Commissioner Sanusi Rafai told CNN.

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"They made the teachers lie down on the ground, then there were gunshot sounds and everyone scampered to safety," eyewitness Hauwa Jinjiri said, according to Reuters.

Adamu Garba, a teacher at the Nigerian college, estimated that as many as 40 students may have died in the 2 a.m. strike. However, particulars of the attack and the exact casualty count remain unclear.

"Details are still sketchy due to lack of telephone access, and it is still not clear how many students were affected in the attack," local Nigerian military spokesman Lazarus Eli told the Agence France-Presse news agency. "Our men are down there in pursuit of the killers."

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The attack may have been carried out by Islamist members of Boko Haram, a militant group whose nickname translates to the phrase "Western education is sinful," Reuters reported. The group's goal is to install Islamic law, the BBC said.

The attack would be the first blamed on Boko Haram in Yobe, a state in northwestern Nigeria. But the AP reported the group is responsible for killing more than 300 civilians this month alone, and at least 250 people have been killed in attacks in neighboring Borno state, according to the BBC.

Boko Haram’s usual targets include security forces, politicians and Christian worshippers, Reuters noted.