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: June 25, 2017

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Maiduguri

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:Ongoing Incident

On June 25, 2017, a group of unidentified individuals attacked the University of Maiduguri and surrounding community, killing one security guard and eight civilians, and injuring three campus security personnel and eleven civilians.

The attackers reportedly arrived on campus at approximately 10:00 pm. One of the attackers reportedly stormed a campus security office and detonated an explosive vest, killing a security guard and injuring three others. Four more attackers then left the campus for the nearby village of Zannari, where they detonated their explosives, killing eight people and injuring eleven others. At about 4:00 am, two of the attackers who had fled the campus for Zannari detonated their vests, killing eight and injuring another eleven civilians.

As of this report, the identities of the attackers are unknown. This was the fifth attack on the university since January 2017. SAR has reported similar attacks on the university on January 16, May 13, May 18, and May 20.

Scholars at Risk condemns this extreme, targeted, violent attack on the higher education space and sends condolences to the victims, their families and the entire University of Maiduguri community. In addition to the terrible loss of life and injuries, such attacks target the core values of the university, including academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, institutional autonomy, and social responsibility. State authorities have a responsibility to safeguard these values by taking all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including a responsibility to deter future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards. Members of society similarly have a responsibility to help safeguard the higher education space, especially following incidents of such gross violence, by pressing demands to State authorities for greater protection and accountability, and by contributing to efforts to understand and reinforce principles of autonomy and academic freedom.