On April 8, 2018, a group of suspected Boko Haram militants wearing explosive vests attempted to attack the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria.
Nigerian military officials reported that, on the night of April 8, they quickly spotted the attackers as they attempted to enter the campus. Soldiers reportedly opened fire on the attackers, causing one of their vests to detonate. An air force helicopter pursued the other attackers, killing one. Military officials report that some of the attackers remain unaccounted for. As of this report, no public statements of responsibility have been issued; however, military officials report that the attack was organized by Boko Haram.
This marks the eighth violent attack on the University of Maiduguri since January 2017. Other attacks have occurred on January 16, 2017, May 13, 2017, May 18, 2017, May 20, 2017, June 25, 2017, July 6, 2017, and February 19, 2018.
Scholars at Risk condemns this extreme, targeted, violent attack on the higher education space. 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 university values by taking all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including deterring future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards. Scholars at Risk acknowledges the Nigerian government’s efforts to increase security at the university in response to such attacks. 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.