A student of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) in Borno State was killed as soldiers and Boko Haram insurgents clashed last Friday. The insurgents had attempted to rescue their detained colleagues in the nearby Giwa Barracks.
The victim, a direct entry student, was hit by bullets in his Tafawa Balewa Hostel.
He was said to have resumed a few days ago. His body was brought to the university’s Central Mosque on Saturday for Janazah prayer and burial according to Islamic rites.
A 400-Level Adult Education student, Abdulmumini Abubakar, was also hit by a bullet while going to the campus for a lecture in a taxi. He is at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. Other students injured in the melee were taken to the university clinic.
Guns boomed for several hours as the university was caught in the crossfire.
About 60 insurgents were killed. A deafening explosion rocked the campus during the clash. Rocket launchers fired by the sect members shattered the louvers and ceiling of the ETF Building.
Students going for lecture ran back to their hostels when the building was hit. Those in lecture rooms ran in different directions.
During the battle, the university was tense; students hid in wardrobes and toilets.
A 300-Level Accountancy student, who was at the Science Complex when a rocket launcher hit the building, said: “We were in class when we heard a deafening sound. The hall was shaken. We even thought the explosion happened right behind us because of the bang. We all fled in different directions.”
Students were frightened, with many thinking that the insurgents had invaded the campus. Some students ran towards the University Gate 5, which leads to Mairi, a neighboring community.
A student, whose school bag was strapped to his back as he was leaving the campus, said: “When I heard the second explosion, I lost balance. Immediately, I took my identity card and packed all my credentials and left the campus through Gate 5. We all thought Boko Haram was on the campus.”
A worshipper in the mosque told schoolwatch.com.ng grapevine “It was an emotional moment for us as we said prayers for him. We survived it but he did not. May his soul rest in peace.”
A graduating female student of the university, Vera Effiong, relived the experience. “I was preparing for lecture when I heard the sound of the explosions. I did not know what was happening. I just broke down in tears. I did not know what to do or where to run to. I just lay flat under my bunk, prayed to God and confessed my sins. Then, I waited for the horror. As at that time, all my roommates had fled the hostel but I didn’t know where to run to.”
Liveschoolnews.com.ng grapevine gathered that there were three explosions on the campus. The ETF 09 Hall was damaged by the explosions. The building was hit by bullets and grenade.
One side of the hall was ripped open; there are bullet holes on the wall and metal door.
Though no student was in the hall when it was hit by the grenade, an Anatomy student in the College of Medical Sciences, which is close to ETF Hall, said: “I was in class, preparing for a lecture billed for 8am. The explosion went off a few minutes before the lecture time. Everywhere vibrated and all of us ran out of the college.”
Paul Archippus, who witnessed the explosion in the commercial area of the campus, said: “I was leaving the barber’s shop when the explosion occurred. Traders left their wares and fled. But nobody was affected because the explosion was on an open field.”
While the campus was in confusion, Civilian JTF, a volunteer group of Maiduguri residents, arrived the school, with weapons, such as arrows, spears, knives and spiked sticks.
They surrounded the perimeter fence of the school back gate, looking for the fleeing Boko Haram members. Soldiers manned the main gate to prevent insurgents from entering the school.
A student living in 303 Housing Estate, a residential area adjacent to the university gate, said: “For about three hours, there was a rain of bullets on our roofs; some penetrated the ceiling. We hid ourselves under the bed to prevent being hit.”
The halls of the male hostel were riddled with bullets. A female student said nobody could move during the gun battle. Another student, Elizabeth Alao, said a bullet landed at her hostel’s corridor. She said a female student was hit by a stray bullet.
Social and religious activities scheduled for the day were cancelled. Occupants of Titanic Hll could not sleep. They kept vigil. Some brought their mattresses to the hostel’s entrance.
After the incident, the university’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), Alhaji Buba Usman, urged students to remain calm, saying there was no cause for alarm. Its spokesman, Ahmed Mohammed, said the school would not be closed down, since there was no direct attack on the campus.
As at the time of filing this report, students could no longer go for night reading because of the fear of the fleeing insurgents, who they said could come back.
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