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Nigerian state orders schools to close after massacre

A soldier stands in front of a damaged wall at a prison after an attack in the northeastern town of Bama, on May 7, 2013. Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state on Sunday ordered the closure of all secondary schools after an incident that saw suspected Islamist extremists kill 42 people in a gun and bomb attack on a boarding school.AFP/File

Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state on Sunday ordered the closure of all secondary schools after a massacre that saw suspected Islamist extremists kill 42 people in a gun and bomb attack on a boarding school.

Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam has "directed that all secondary schools in the state be closed down from Monday 8th July 2013 until a new academic session begins in September," a government statement said.

The attack early Saturday in the Mamudo district saw assailants -- believed to be Boko Haram Islamists -- round up students and staff in a dormitory before throwing explosives inside and opening fire, said Haliru Aliyu of Potiskum General Hospital, quoting witnesses who escaped.

It was the third school attack in the region in recent weeks, including two in Yobe.

The state government also called on the military to restore mobile phone service, saying it was preventing residents from reporting suspicious activity.

Nigeria's military cut phone service in much of the country's northeast in mid-May, when it launched a sweeping offensive seeking to end a four-year insurgency by Boko Haram.

Satellite phones have also been banned, with the military saying insurgents use them to plan attacks. Landline service is extremely rare in Nigeria.

A number of residents had initially expressed support for the phone cut if it could lead to peace, but the Yobe government's statement indicated patience was running out.