- 70 die in Kanuna bomb attack
There was pandemonium in Kaduna State on Wednesday as twin bomb blasts rocked the city, killing more than 70 persons.
A former Head of State and a chief of the All Progressives Congress, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), narrowly escaped the second blast.
The blast occurred at two different parts of the state. One at the Alkali/Isa Kaita road in the highbrow area of the state while the second one occurred near the Kawo bridge, close the 1. Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna State.
In the second blast, a suicide bomber targeted the convoy of Buhari and hauled the explosive device on his convoy.
It was learnt that one of the cars in the convoy was badly damaged while the car (Prado Jeep) conveying the former Head of State was torched.
An eyewitness said: “The suicide bomber hauled the explosive on the convoy of the former head of state but one of the cars in the convoy was hit and the Prado jeep of Buhari was hit. His bodyguards and escorts had to move Buhari from his car into another car (Sienna) to take him away.”
Another version said the suicide bomber, who rode in a Sienna car rammed into the convoy of the former Head of State.
“In fact, the car in the convy was badly damaged. Buhari escaped narrowly. We doubt whether some of his security operatives were alive,” he said.
More than 50 cars were damaged in the second blast, according to the eyewitness.
Also, in the first blast which took place along Alkali/Isa Kaita road occurred at about 12.30pm while the second one was near the Kawo overhead bridge and occurred two hours later.
Sheik Darihu Bauchi, a renowned Islamic cleric, was the target of the suicide bomber who followed his convoy after delivering a Ramadan lecture (Tafsir) at the Murtala Square, in Kaduna State.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government immediately imposed a 24-hour-curfew on the state.
Governor Muktar Yero, who condemned the despicable act, noted that the curfew was imposed to enable security operatives to restore normalcy.
Yero, through his Director-General, Media and Public Affairs, Ahmed Mayaki, described the bomb blast as the height of ‘cowardice’ by those bent on creating tension in the state.
The statement said, “The Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero has condemned the bomb blast that occurred today in the metropolis, describing the acts as the height of ‘cowardice’ by those bent on creating tension in the State.
“Following the unfortunate situation, a 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Kaduna metropolis with immediate effect, to enable security agencies restore normalcy.”
Governor said the blasts were clear manifestation of the resolve by ‘agents of darkness’ to soak the land with blood of innocent people for no just cause.
He said, “Enemies of peace have visited us with their ungodly venom of wanton destruction of human lives. This blast, coming in the Holy Month of Ramadan is a clear indication that those behind the act have no iota of fear of God as they have none for the sanctity of human life.”
Yero noted that in spite of the success recorded in improvement of security in the state, it was obvious that more still needed to be done to ensure safety of people at all times and in all places.
He therefore called on people of the state to see such unwarranted attacks on innocent people across the state as aggression by evil against good that must be collectively condemned by all.
The Governor therefore urged the entire people in the state to be more vigilant, and to also avoid unnecessary crowded areas.
He said, “The time has come for us to eschew all our differences and confront these brazen attacks as united people.
“Those behind these attacks have no regards for whatever diversity as their victims cut across all ethnic and religious divides. It is a responsibility on all of us to unite against this common enemy.”
While commiserating with families of victims of the blast, the governor called on the entire citizens of the state to provide more support to security agencies by providing useful information on suspicious movements and persons within and around their communities.
Officially, the state police commissioner, Shehu Umar, put the death in the first blast at 25 while the second one, according him, claimed more than 14 persons.
However, eyewitness said the dead were more than 14.
According to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, “for now we have recorded 25 dead bodies. People have just closed from the Ramadan Tsafir led Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, and we provided enough security at Murtala Square, the venue of the Tafsir but the bomb was planted far away from the venue, to target him through the route he was taking to go home. We are doing our best to safeguard the country, so we are appealing to the perpetrators to lay down the arms.”
To the North West, Zonal Director, National Emergency Management Agency, Musa Elallah, “As as the police said, 25 people were killed and We have moved those that were injured to various hospitals in town but we cannot tell you know how many people that are injured until we move round the hospitals to take figure. Immediately it happened, all the security agents including police, soldiers, SSS, Road safety, Red Cross and others. We are doing our best to control the situation”
Most of the people that died in the first blast were adherents of the Darika Islamic sect-led by Sheik Dahiru Bauchi.
Eyewitness said the lone bomber whose target was the Shiekh rode on a motorbike also followed the convoy of the Islamic cleric after the lecture. He was said to have been overpowered by the security operatives, who blocked him after suspecting him. But he forced his way and detonated the explosive and throwing the entire area into serous confusion.
The explosion only affected the tail end of Sheikh Bauchi’s convoy but others were not so lucky and died in the process.
Traditionally,Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi used to attract his adherents in thousands anytime he rounded up his Ramadan Tafsir at the Murtala Square,but this year’s event which was witnessed by Muslim faithful mostly of the Darika sect from across the North became tragic shortly after Sheikh Bauchi’s convoy moved along Alkali Road to connect with Isa Kaita road.
A nearby private hospital came to the rescue as security operatives and soldiers were seen conveying the wounded there for treatment, while relations and friends of the dead were seen crying.
Efforts to reach Sheikh Bauchi were unsuccessful, as he was said to have been moved to an unknown destination.
Many of the corpses were conveyed to the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in the metropolis and other hospital in the state.