Dozens of students were killed on Monday by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-east Nigerian town of Potiskum, police said.
The explosion happened at a boys’ science and technical school where some 2000 students had gathered. Militant group Boko Haram is believed to have caused the blast, according to police.
The Associated Press reported that soldiers rushed to the scene, grisly with body parts, in the capital of Yobe state, but they were chased away with stones and calls by people angry at the military’s inability to halt a 5-year-old Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.
The current death toll is unconfirmed. Reuters news agency reported that at least 35 were killed in the attack while AFP and Associated Press news agency said that at least 48 people were killed.
A suicide bomb attack in the same city killed 30 people one week ago, when suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked a religious procession of Shiite Muslims.
Hospital workers said dozens are being treated including people with serious injuries that may need amputations. A morgue attendant told AP that 48 bodies were brought to the hospital and all appeared to be between the ages of 11 and 20 years old.
Survivors said the bomber appeared to have hidden the explosives in the type of backpack popular with students. Months ago Nigeria’s military had reported finding a bomb factory where explosives were being sewn into backpacks in the northern city of Kano.
Many Nigerians are angry that Boko Haram has increased attacks and bombings since the government claimed to have brokered a cease-fire on 17 October.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has denied negotiating a truce.
The group, whose name means “Western education is sinful” in the local Hausa language, is described by the government as the biggest threat to security in the country, which is Africa’s biggest economy and leading oil producer.