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Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School.jpg banner.jpg
Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School / Photo Credit: ACN
Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School.jpg
Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School / Photo Credit: ACN
World News

Teacher saves pupils from terror attack by switching off lights at Nigerian Catholic school

by Donna Birrell

The quick thinking of a headteacher helped save the lives of sleeping students after armed extremists stormed a secondary school in Nigeria’s Middle Belt on 7th May.

After hearing gunshots outside, Fr Emmanuel Ogwuche rapidly switched off all the lights in the building, preventing the terrorists from finding their way inside the school.

A security officer who was guarding the building in Benue State jumped over the fence and was pursued by the gunmen but he managed to escape with non-fatal injuries, according to Fr Moses Iorapuu, director of social communications at Makurdi Diocese.

Speaking to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Fr Moses said that unidentified extremists opened fire at the co-educational Catholic Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School while the pupils were asleep inside the building.

He added: “There were so many gunshots and they were shooting for a very long time.

“We were lucky and the Lord was kind to us that no student was hit.”

He explained that the police were very slow in responding and that by the time they arrived the attackers had disappeared.

The school is located in a district of Makurdi that is notorious for killings and kidnappings by suspected Fulani militants. It is now temporarily closed and the students have been evacuated as a pre-emptive measure to ensure their safety.

Fr Moses said that the pupils have been traumatised and there is fear of further atrocities, highlighting: “This attack was the first of its kind we’ve experienced.

“They have attacked churchgoers, farmers and villagers before, but now they have upped their game, attacking a school.

“We are not sure what is going to happen next.”

Fr Moses said that Makurdi Diocese has tightened security at church buildings and appealed to the authorities to ensure the safety of citizens.

He added that he hopes that the state governor will “wake up to the reality of what we are facing”.

He concluded: “This attack happened in the capital of Makurdi State and if there are no security arrangements to protect our schools, then we have to suspend our activities because we don’t know which school will be the next target.

“We are expecting that there will be a reaction and this attack on the school will finally push the government to act.”

Extremist attacks on schools in Nigeria came to international attention with the kidnapping of 276 mostly Christian female students from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, in Borno State.

More than ten years on from the atrocity, more than 90 students are still reported missing.

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