Student Rape-Murder Gang Shuts Iraq U
Shia student group accused of campus campaign of terror
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2009 2:31 AM CDT
Iraqi students hold banners during a demonstration in front of Baghdad's Al-Mustansiriya University.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

(Newser) – One of Iraq's leading universities has been shut down while authorities attempt to purge it of a sectarian student gang accused of carrying out a campaign of murder and rape. Professors, administrators, and fellow students have been targeted by the Students League, a shadowy group of Shia students said to hold sway over campus security and even the courses of study of Mustansiriya University's engineering and law programs.

The university descended into chaos ahead of the closing, professors and students tell the New York Times. Two rival administrators claimed to be chancellor, and the Students League openly paraded on campus to intimidate Sunni and Kurdish students. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, himself a Mustansiriya graduate, finally stepped in this month after a professor who had been pistol-whipped by the group arrived at his office still wearing his bloodied clothes  and with untreated gashes on his face.