BBC News Report:

Parents of the wounded children have gathered at the hospital in Potiskum

Boko Haram

At least 47 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.

The explosion at a boys’ school in the town is believed to have been caused by a suicide bomber dressed as a student.

The militant group Boko Haram is believed to have carried out the attack, police said.

The group has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic state.

It is waging a sustained campaign to prevent children from going to school. It believes girls should not attend school and boys should only receive an Islamic education.

‘Devastating attack’

The explosion ripped through the assembly hall at the Government Science Secondary School, reports say.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told the BBC Hausa service the bombing had left 47 people dead and another 79 wounded.

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Analysis: Will Ross, BBC Nigeria Correspondent

By setting off the bomb during the morning assembly, the militants clearly aimed to kill as many students as possible.

Few of the attacks here are ever claimed by any group but Boko Haram will once again be suspected. The jihadists have carried out particularly brutal attacks on schools before.

Chibok is known in many parts of the world because of April’s mass abduction of girls from that remote village. But there have been many other horrific attacks on schools which have received less attention – including last February’s raid on Buni Yadi, in Yobe State.

Dozens of boys were burnt to death, shot or killed with knives in the dormitory. Female students were spared but told to never attend school again, go off and get married. Boko Haram wants the education of boys to be limited to strict Koranic studies only.

The insecurity in the north-east is so rampant, with entire towns and villages now in the jihadists’ hands, it will be extremely hard for other bombings to be prevented.

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“Schoolchildren were at the assembly ground this morning at about 07:30am [06:30 GMT], then a suicide bomber who was disguised and dressed as student detonated a bomb,” a witness told the BBC.

“It was a devastating attack. Dozens of children lost their lives and many more were injured. Some had broken limbs.”

One student told the BBC he saw the mutilated bodies of fellow students at the scene, where emergency operations were ongoing. A resident reported seeing parents wailing at the sight of their children’s bodies at the hospital.

Soldiers who attended the site of the explosion were met with fury by the assembled crowds who pelted them with stones and accused them of not doing enough to halt Boko Haram’s insurgency.

A grieving relative told the BBC: “My brother, a student in the school, died in the blast. He was about 16 years old… We buried him at about 11:00am [10:00 GMT] today.”

“The government needs to be more serious about the fight against Boko Haram because it is getting out of control,” he added.

Potiskum is no stranger to attacks – last week a suicide bombing there targeted Shia Muslims

Schools in Yobe state have been frequently attacked by Boko Haram militants.

The state is one of three in Nigeria that have been placed under a state of emergency as a result of the group’s activities.

Potiskum, one of the largest towns in Yobe, has been targeted before by Boko Haram.

Last week, a suicide bombing killed 15 people in the town.

The bomber joined a religious procession of the rival Shia Muslim sect, before blowing himself up.

In April, Boko Haram sparked global outrage by abducting more than 200 girls from a boarding school in Chibok town in Borno state.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has dismissed government claims to have agreed a ceasefire, under which the girls would be released.

He says the children have converted to Islam, are learning to memorise the Koran and have been married off.