Once again schoolchildren have been targeted and massacred by the Boko Haram group in Northern Nigeria. The children were sleeping in their dormitories in a boarding school in Bunu Yadi in the Yobe state of the country. The group set fire to the locked dormitories, killing many inside and killed any children they found, who managed to escape through windows. The death toll is put between 29 and 43 according to reports. Relatives rushed to the school, desparate to find their loved ones.

This follows the killing of 28 schoolchildren in the same state last July. The killings then were also carried out by Boko Haram, whose name means 'Western Education is Sin.' A report from Amnesty International says that northern Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places to teach and learn, with many children and teacher killings going unreported in the international media. For example at least 70 teachers have been killed in the region since 2012. The report says:

The President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers told Amnesty International that according to reports from their branch in Borno state, many attacks are carried out against teachers in remote communities and often these attacks are not reported in the media. On 18 March 2013, unknown gunmen reportedly shot and killed three teachers and wounded four other people, including three students, in a simultaneous attack on four public schools in Maiduguri, Borno state. Among the teachers killed, Assistant Headmaster Alhaji Balla Modu, bursar Alhaji Iliyasu Zakariya, and class teacher Mohammad Ahmed, all from the same school, were reportedly killed while on duty during school hours. Nobody is known to have been arrested or prosecuted for the killings.

Going to school in the face of such brutality is yet another example of the heroism of so many teachers and students in the global South, who teach and learn often against impossible odds. Some face brutality, but many have to work in intolerable conditions and for starvation pay. These stories make the World Bank's attempts to blame teachers for the failure to reach the so-called millennium development goal of primary education for all by 2015, even more monstrous.

The Nigerian National Union of Teachers (NUT) and its sister union for university teachers ASUU, put the blame where it belongs - on the failure to protect schools and to fund education properly. That's why the ASUU was on strike for several months last year and why teachers throughout Nigeria are continually having to take strike action just to secure their minimal basic pay.

The desperate poverty which stalks the country, even as multinational oil corporations reap mega profits from its rich natural resources, is what creates the conditions for groups like Boko Haram to carry out their barbaric actions. This website sends its deepest sympathy to the Nigerian National Union of Teachers and to the grieving parents and relatives of the latest victims of this dreadful violence.