Release International has condemned an attack on college students in north-eastern Nigeria in which at least 40 people were reportedly killed.
The attack was carried out by men dressed in military uniform in a student housing area connected to the Federal Polytechnic Mubi in the early hours of Tuesday. The students were either shot dead or had their throats slit.
There has been speculation that the massacre was linked to a fiercely contested student union election at the college.
However, partners of Release International say they believe the attack was religiously motivated.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the massacre, the area has seen repeated attacks by Boko Haram.
Last week, the Nigerian military killed a senior figure in the militant group and rounded up suspected members during a high profile raid.
Boko Haram has stated its intention to impose radical Sharia law in northern Nigeria and eradicate Christians from the area.
Partners of Release International believe the massacre was linked to attempts by extremists to bring in Sharia by force.
“This appalling massacre is consistent with the pattern of attacks against Christians in Nigeria,” said Release UK director Colin King.
“The conflict in Nigeria has overlapping political, tribal and religious dimensions. But overarching the recent troubles is the agenda of Islamist militants to establish their version of Sharia law across the north of the country.
“For several years now, Release has been monitoring attacks which have had the intended effect of driving Christians, and ethnic groups considered to be Christian, from the north. The government must step up security to protect its Christian minority in vulnerable areas.”
Release condemns Nigerian student massacre
Published 03 October 2012