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Sep 17, 1:07 PM EDT

Suicide bombers kill 15 at north Nigerian college


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KANO, Nigeria (AP) -- Two suicide bombers killed at least 15 students Wednesday at a government college in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, police and emergency officials said.

Four men in a tricycle taxi drove up to the Federal College of Education Kano and opened fire when security guards insisted on searching the vehicle, according to a guard who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not entitled to speak to reporters.

One of the attackers got into a lecture hall filled with students and detonated his bomb, and the second blew himself up before he could enter a second lecture hall, according to Kano state police commissioner Aderenle Shinaba.

He said 34 students were hospitalized with various degrees of injuries.

Spokesman Sani Datti of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency said the bombers also died, making the total death toll 17.

Officials said Islamic extremists from Boko Haram were responsible. The group is blamed for five suicide bombings carried out in one week in July in Kano. The extremists have also been blamed for a string of car bombs and suicide bombings that have killed scores of people across their stronghold in northeast Nigeria as well as in Abuja, Nigeria's capital in the center of the country, and a failed attempt in Lagos, the commercial capital in the southwest.

There had been no bombings for more than a month during which Boko Haram has focused on taking a string of towns and villages along the northeast border with Cameroon where it has declared an Islamic caliphate and is enforcing strict Shariah law.

The extremists are threatening to attack Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and birthplace of their movement. The military claimed to have killed some 100 fighters in a battle at the town of Konduga, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Maiduguri last week.

It was a rare victory for the Nigerian military, which has failed to contain the insurgency.

Boko Haram attracted international attention with the kidnappings of more than 270 schoolgirls in April. About 50 escaped on their own. The government and soldiers have failed to rescue any of the others, saying any military campaign could endanger their lives.

President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to consider a prisoner swap, with Boko Haram demanding the release of hundreds of detained fighters in exchange for the girls.

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Faul reported from Johannesburg.

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