Gunmen open fire on sleeping college students in Nigeria
September 30, 2013 -- Updated 0548 GMT (1348 HKT)
A screengrab taken on September 25, 2013 shows a man claiming to be the leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.
- NEW: At least 40 students were killed by gunmen who attacked them as they slept
- The attack is the third on schools in the region since June
- No claim of responsibility yet, but a military spokesman says evidence points to Boko Haram
- Since 2009 Boko Haram has targeted schools, churches and police stations
Are you there? Share photos and video with CNN iReport if you can do so safely.
(CNN) -- Under the cover of darkness, gunmen approached a college dormitory in a rural Nigerian town and opened fire on students who were sleeping.
At least 40 students died, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
The gunmen fired indiscriminately on the male dorm, said Lazarus Eli, a military spokesman. The attack took place at about 1 a.m. Sunday at the College of Agriculture Gujba.
"So far all evidence points to the Boko Haram," Eli told CNN by phone.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Part of a pattern?
Since 2009, Boko Haram has sown murder and mayhem in Nigeria's northeastern region. The Islamic militant group's name translates from the local Hausa language as "Western education is a sin."
Boko Haram militants often target schools and churches. In 2011 and 2012, Christmas attacks were blamed on them.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan created a new wing of the military to specifically deal with the insurgency.
In May, Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states. He cited "terrorists" who have caused a "a near breakdown of law and order."
One of the three states is Yobe, where Sunday's attack took place.
It was the third attack on a school in four months in Yobe.
The ongoing violence in this predominantly Muslim region has claimed thousands of lives.
Meanwhile, human rights groups have accused the military of committing atrocities against civilians.
During a May trip to the country, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Nigeria "has acknowledged that there have been some problems" and was "working to try to control it."
CNN's Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0453 GMT (1253 HKT)
Focus is on the fish as U.S. President starts tour with visit to legendary Tokyo restaurant.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Fireworks are fantastic and human endeavor has its place, but sometimes Mother Nature outshines any performance we can produce.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0306 GMT (1106 HKT)
In 1987, China sent its very first email. Here's what it said,
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
The world's new fastest elevator will fling you from earth to the 95th floor before you're done reading this article.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
In one U.S. state, a new bill will allow ordinary citizens to carry guns in all sorts of places. Does it make you feel safer?
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 0701 GMT (1501 HKT)
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 0130 GMT (0930 HKT)
Tucked away near the border with Cameroon, this poor corner of Nigeria is no stranger to such brazen, violent acts.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
Today's five most popular stories