(FoxNews) At least 25 children were killed in a fire in a school in the northern Niger town of Agadez.
Emergency services say several others were injured, some severely, according to the official state television station.
It’s not yet clear if there is a deliberate link between the fire and the extremist group Boko Haram, a campaign of bombings and kidnappings by Boko Haram whose activities are widely seen as behind the deaths of more than 100 school children in a 2014 attack.
Agadez is in the Diffa region, which was initially attacked by Boko Haram on January 3, 2015. The insurgents succeeded in capturing the state capital, Agadez, and launched three offensives against military positions in the area.
Late that same day, the Nigerian military said it killed “over 100 Boko Haram fighters,” but Diffa officials insisted that the militants were pushed back from all the villages in the region and never fought back.
Despite the government claim, Diffa residents reported seeing signs of increased operations by the government.
The attack on Agadez shocked Nigerien officials and prompted the government to announce it would pay a daily stipend to 3,000 schools teaching students between the ages of four and 16, to protect them from attacks. A second system of coverage has expanded to cover both ages.
The Nigerian attackers also hit Bura Bura, a neighboring town, where about 500 people were taken hostage by Boko Haram.
The group has attacked villages and snatched children across the Lake Chad region, where it maintains a stronghold.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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