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An area in northeast Nigeria ravaged by violence from rebels has suffered another tragedy.  In the early morning hours on Sunday (Sept. 29), suspected Islamist gunmen entered a dorm at an agricultural college and opened fired on sleeping students.

BBC News reported on the shooting attack at the Yobe State College of Agriculture, which authorities have blamed on the Boko Haram extremist group. An official told BBC that many as 50 students, many of them male, were killed but conflicting reports place the number closer to 42. Provost Molima Idi Mato of the college said that security officials are still recovering bodies and that over 1,000 students have fled the campus.

The school did not have security forces in place to fend off the attacks from the Islamists, and the rural surroundings of the campus would have possibly hindered any military support for the students.

Although the region has been under a state of emergency for months, which was put in place to calm insurgency in the African nation, there remains doubt that the government has the means to stop the extremists. Groups such as Boko Haram wish to convert Nigeria into an entirely Islamic nation via a government coup.

President Goodluck Jonathan spoke out against the attack during a televised media chat, condemning the group and pondered if the attackers knew if their victims were Muslims or Christian. Nigeria has been enduring brewing spats between the large and divided Christian and Muslim groups throughout the country.

Boko Haram has killed roughly 1,700 persons since 2010 alone.

Photo: YouTube/TELL