Nigeria has closed five government colleges in the country's northeast in the wake of a deadly series of attacks targeting schools believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram.

A ministry of education statement issued on Wednesday said the affected schools were "located within the high security risk areas of the northeast geo-political zone".

Students of the schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, which are worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, would be absorbed in other government colleges, the statement said.

Last week, 43 pupils were shot and hacked to death when suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe state.

An undisclosed number of female students were also abducted during the overnight attack as the school was burned down.

Traumatised students in the region have refused to stay in their schools and colleges since the attack.

Hundreds of schools burnt

Boko Haram, which translates roughly from Hausa as "Western education is sin", rejects a so-called Western curriculum and has burnt hundreds of schools in its four-and-a-half year fight to create an Islamic state in the Muslim-majority north.

Yobe state authorities said last October that Boko Haram attacks had razed 209 schools, causing damage worth an estimated $15.6 million.

The attacks have raised fears about the effect on education in a region that already lags behind the rest of Nigeria in social and economic development.

Nigeria in May launched a military offensive to flush out the rebel fighters from the region, but the attacks have continued, particularly in remote border areas.

The country's top police officer, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, earlier this week said security agencies were "doing everything humanly possible" to prevent future school attacks.

Source: AFP