The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination was held without any security breach across all centres in Yobe State yesterday, 24 hours after another round of attacks in neighbouring Borno State by members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram.
One target of the attacks was a secondary school in Dikwa where seven teachers and some students were killed.
Similar attacks took place in Kala-Balge towns and near Dalwa, according to Senator Ahmed Zanna, who represents the area in the National Assembly.
No fewer than 19 people are feared dead in the attacks, but the senator put the death toll at 217.
He said the 217 were killed in six villages.
Of this number 60 were killed in Kala-Balge and 150 in three other villages.
Yesterday’s JAMB exam however took place in major towns in Yobe like Damaturu, Gashua, Potiskum, and Geidam.
Security was tight as the examination got underway with candidates screened by security personnel before being allowed into the exam hall.
Some centres in the state were collapsed to accommodate candidates from particularly volatile areas.
A candidate, Hafsat Abdullahi, said that though she attends school in Maiduguri her father registered her in Yobe for fear of Boko Haram.
Another candidate, Musa Mohammadu said that he was “just happy that Allah has seen us through”.
No official of JAMB was ready to speak with the press as many of them that were approached turned down the reporter’s request.
It was gathered that insurgents stormed the Dikwa school in the early hours of Thursday, killing six teachers and two security guards.
They also abducted an unspecified number of women, residents said.
A witness, Modu Kakarimi, who fled Dikwa to Maiduguri, the state capital, said he and some others ran away to safety when they heard sound of gunshots.
“Our fear was heightened when we saw the boarding school (college) in flames. We later gathered that they have killed eight there. We fled together with our women and children,” Kakarimi said.
Senator Ahmed Zanna confirmed the Dikwa killing to journalists but he said he could not provide full details.
“There was a siege on one of the schools in the town just after midnight… They also razed the school library and escaped into the night through the bushes,” he said.
A group of insurgents also attacked Kala-Balge town, killing three people and setting many houses ablaze, some local officials said on condition of anonymity.
On Friday, suspected Islamists blocked Maiduguri-Biu highway near Dalwa village and shot dead eight passengers, a passer-by Mustapha Ali, said.
Ali, who passed through Dalwa on his way to Maiduguri said the insurgents stormed the highway in broad daylight.
There was no immediate confirmation of the attacks by security agencies but a top security officer, who demanded anonymity, confirmed them.
“There were various attacks in the state …It is sad,” he said.
Violence in the Northeast has already killed some 1,500 people this year.