Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Aftermath of Jos Blasts: Fear Grips Bauchi Residents
Bomb blast damage in Jos.
May 28, 2014
Nigerian Vanguard

Just when everybody thought that the spate of bomb attacks in the North-East part of the country was gradually fizzling out, residents of Jos in Plateau State were once again rattled by two fresh bomb attacks in less than a week. In the first incident which happened on the May 20, 2014, two bombs exploded one after the other at a business-busy area packed with commuters and traders, leaving at least 118 people dead.

The second explosion occurred on a Saturday along Bauchi road, close to a football viewing centre by University of Jos. Eyewitnesses said the bomber approached the viewing centre while sports fans were watching the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, but could not get there before his car exploded.

However, with the frequent occurrences of bomb attacks in some targeted parts of the North, most neighbouring states close to Plateau State are constantly living in fear of the unknown as nobody knows which state is the next target. This is presently the case in Bauchi State as everybody has become extra security conscious in response to the ugly experiences of bomb attacks.

Just last week, there was a bomb scare at a shopping complex in Wunti market where items suspected to be improvised explosives were concealed in a bag. When an alarm was raised in the market that a bomb was about to explode, everyone took to his or her heels. This, however, later turned out to be a false alarm as it was discovered that the suspected items were three kerosene stoves and not explosives devices.

It took the intervention of the security agents dispatched in the area to restore law and order as rumours spread fast in the state metropolis that Boko Haram had invaded Bauchi town. In fact, some residents in the state metropolis who spoke to VM about their fears, said government should intensify security checks throughout the state.

A Tailor at the Wunti market, popularly called Amaka Chidibere said she has been contemplating relocating from the North completely, adding that her husband prevailed on her to tarry a while to enable them gather enough capital to settle in his state, Anambra. According to her: “I thought the bomb attacks have ceased, but from what I’m seeing now, Bauchi may be the next target”.

An Indigiene of Bauchi State from Dass local government, Garba Maigani, said that he has nowhere to run to because Bauchi is his home state. He said: “Where am I going to run to? This is my home state and I can’t say that I want to relocate my family because of insecurity. The way out of this challenge is for the Federal and state governments to rise to the occasion; if not, we are all going to perish”.

Ali also said that fervent prayer at this perilous times is what is needed because security agents can no longer provide security of lives and property.

However, security has been beefed up in Bauchi as the war against the Boko Haram intensifies. Just last week, the Nigerian military bombed Boko Haram camps located in parts of Bauchi State, local and security sources have disclosed.

As early as 6 ‘O clock in the morning, locals said that they heard loud sounds of explosives in the forest where insurgents camps were reportedly located.

It has been reported that a sizeable number of gunmen suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect are operating in the Balmo forests in Darazo,  Burra in Ningi, Soro in Ganjuwa and Yugda between Zara-Miya. Another camp is believed to exist around the Bauchi –Gombe border in Alkaleri.

Some of the locals in the forest communities who pleaded anonymity, for security reasons, said the vibration shook their houses to their very foundation, adding that shortly after the explosive sounds were heard they saw military aircraft bearing Nigerian flags hovering in the sky.

A reliable security source in the state confirmed that the army has started operation in the forest but did not give details of the operation, adding that the exercise was carried out without creating panic among the inhabitants of the forests.

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