SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 29, 2013

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):College of Agriculture

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 29, 2013 gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram militant group attacked the College of Agriculture in Yobe state, northeastern Nigeria, killing 50 students.
According to state police commissioner Sanusi Rufai, the gunmen stormed the college and shot students as they slept. Molima Idi Mato, the college’s provost, told media the gunmen set fire to several classrooms. Following the attack, about 1000 students fled the university campus.
Boko Haram, whose name translates as “western education is forbidden,” is a militant Islamist group operating in northeastern Nigeria. It has a history of targeting educational institutions as part of an insurgency, seeking to overthrow the government’s rule in the region.  
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks on higher education communities, especially killings of students. Such attacks are clearly aimed at destroying the very intellectual freedom that thrives in a healthy, safe university space. Thus, these attacks harm not only the immediate victims, but the society in general, chilling academic freedom and undermining the ability of higher education communities to serve their educational, research and social functions.