Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Buhari Escapes As 25 Die in Kaduna, Nigeria Blasts
Damage from Kaduna bomb blast in Nigeria.
Written by Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Mohammed Abubakar, Karls Tsokar, Lilian Chukwu (Abuja), Olalekan Okusan (Lagos) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri)
Nigerian Guardian

• How I survived, by ex-Head of State

• Jonathan, ACF condemn explosions

• Yero imposes curfew in metropolis

• U.S., UK pledge support over terror

FORMER Head of State and an All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, MajorGen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), Wednesday escaped death as two bomb explosions rocked the Kaduna metropolis, killing about 25 persons and injuring many others.

  Buhari was caught up in one of the explosions which occurred along Kawo Road as he was on his way to his home town, Daura, Katsina State.

  Buhari, according to a witness, was swiftly whisked into another vehicle in his convoy during the explosions.

  President Goodluck Jonathan and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have deplored the attacks, calling them as acts of wickedness.

    Buhari, in a statement, said: “I was personally involved in a clearly targeted bomb attack today along Ali Akilu Road, Kawo-Kaduna at about 2:30pm on my way to Daura.

   “The unfortunate event, clearly an assassination attempt, came from a fast moving vehicle that made many attempts to overtake my security car but was blocked by my escort vehicle.

    “We reached the market area of Kawo where he took advantage of our slowing down and attempted to ram my car and instantly detonated the bomb which destroyed all the three cars in our convoy.

   “Unfortunately,  when l came down from his vehicle, he saw many dead bodies littered around.They were innocent people going about their daily business who became victims of mass murder.”

  The blasts which occurred at Alkali / Isa Kaita Road near Murtala Muhammed Square and the ever-busy Kawo Motor Park were said to have been caused by suicide bombers.

  Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) is outraged at the blasts which caught up Buhari’s convoy and called for a thorough investigation to unravel those behind the sordid incident.

   Governor Ramalan Yero has condemned the incident, describing it as an act of cowardice, just as he declared a 24- hour curfew in Kaduna metropolis.

  In a related development, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members on Tuesday invaded Damboa town, Borno State and shot dead five residents.

  Similarly, the Police have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United States Department of States Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (U.S. NIL) to assist in the training of officers in the fight against terrorism.

  In the same vein, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) has presented to the leadership of the Force a compendium of wide-ranging guidelines on counter terrorism and eight other areas of law enforcement.

  The first blast occurred at about 11.45 a.m. when many worshippers were returning from the final Tafsir lecture marking the preparation for the end of the Ramadan at the Murtala Muhammed Square.

  An eye witness said that immediately after the lecture, some unknown persons on motorcycles trailed the convoy of a prominent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, who also narrowly escaped death in the blasts.

   He added: “One of the suicide bombers who died in the blast attempted blocking the Sheikh’s car, but was chased away by security men. The blast occurred immediately he was shaved off.”

  The second bomb exploded about two hours later near the Kawo Central Motor Park leaving heavy casualties.

  Some of those injured in the blasts were rushed to the 44th Military Reference Hospital, Garkuwa Hospital and Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital.

   Besides, two ambulances loaded with corpses were sited at the 44th Military Reference Hospital when they were later deposited at the mogue.

  A nearby private hospital medical team 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 wailing.

  However, efforts to reach Sheikh Bauchi failed as he was said to have been moved to an unknown destination.

  Sheikh Bauchi has been against the activities of the Boko Haram sect and it was alleged that the sect had planned to kill him at his Asikolaye residence, but the explosive device planted there failed them.

  A source told The Guardian that Sheikh Bauchi and other clerics’ recent visit to

President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja may have angered some Islamic sects who accused Bauchi of betraying a trust.

   Speaking on the incident, the State Commissioner of Police, Shehu Umar, said: “For now, we have recorded 25 deaths. People have just closed from the Ramadan Tafsir led by Sheikh 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 their arms.

The police boss added that about 14 people were killed by the second blast in Kawo as the Police command has commenced investigation into the two incidents,” he further said.

   Echoing Umar’s statement, the North West, Zonal Director, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mallam Musa Elallah, said: “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 now how many people were injured until we move round the hospitals to take the figures.”

  In a statement, Yero said: “Following the unfortunate situation, 24 hours curfew has been imposed on Kaduna metropolis with immediate effect, to enable security agencies restore normalcy.”

  The governor’s statement signed by the Director General, Media and Publicity, Malam Ahmed Maiyaki, also stressed: “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.”

  The governor therefore called on the entire people in the state to be more vigilant with happenings around them and to also avoid unnecessary crowded areas.

  He commiserated with families of victims of the blasts and has directed security agencies to intensify surveillance while they pursue the perpetrators of the blast.

 In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, Jonathan denounced the targeting of the prominent political and religious leaders by those he called “terrorists and enemies of the nation” in an odious attempt to inflame passions and exacerbate disquiet, fear, insecurity and sectional divisions in the country.  

While thanking God Almighty for sparing the lives of Buhari and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, the President extends sincere condolences to the families of those who were sadly killed by the bomb blasts.

Jonathan also commiserated with all those who were injured in the twin bombings in this Holy Month of Ramadan, which defy the tenets of Islam, and provide further proof that the terrorists are nothing but blood-thirsty extremists bent on undermining the unity and progress of the nation.

“The President assures residents of Kaduna and all other Nigerians that the Federal Government will continue and further intensify its ongoing efforts to effectively curb the menace of terrorism in the country.

“He has specifically directed the Police and other national security agencies to take all necessary actions to apprehend the perpetrators of today’s attacks on Kaduna and urges all residents of the city to give them the fullest possible cooperation and support as they work to bring the terrorists to justice.”, the statement added.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammed Ibrahim, ACF said:”The bomb blast coming after the Islamic cleric Sheikh Bauchi had concluded this year’s Tafsir at Murtala Muhammad Square, Kaduna with prayers for peace and harmony to reign in Nigeria was worrisome and a national disaster considering the peace Kaduna had enjoyed in the last two years.

The present insecurity situation in the country especially in the Northern region has placed our people in a state of despair and help lessness, it has also crippled the socioeconomic activities of the region.

The Northern leaders called on the Federal Government to decisively use all legitimate means and security apparatus at its disposal to tackle the insecurity situation that is gradually destroying our nation.

   In a statement, the CNPP National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu said: ‘‘The serial bomb blast across the country is a cause for concern; accordingly we call for thorough investigation. For we are witnesses how rogue regimes in certain climes bomb their citizens under the pretence of the extremist insurgents like Boko Haram.

  ‘‘Our recent history reminds us of the NADECO days when we witnessed series of bomb blasts in Lagos traced to then General Sani Abacha’s regime. This makes imperative it for thorough investigation.”

  According to a 78-year old resident who did not want his name mentioned, “ five gunmen on  masks attacked Damboa village where the black Boko Haram flags were hoisted and later removed and shot dead any person on  sight during the raid.’’

  He added: “I was sitting under a tree near a location where one of the flags was hoisted last Friday, and l heard someone on mask, chanting God is great in Arabic, before shooting sporadically any thing on sight.

   Three minutes after the chanting by the insurgents, they gunned down three people near the District head’s residence, while two others were killed at a nearby farmland, but they did not kill me because of my disabilities.

  Also, another Damboa resident, Habu Yamta, who fled to Maiduguri, also told The Guardian yesterday, that the Tuesday attack was triggered by the removal of hoisted flags on Damboa road and District Head’s palace.

  He added: “These gunmen who killed five people could have been informed that the hoisted flags were been removed last Sunday, before the people fled to Biu and Maiduguri for safety.”

  However, a military source who craved anonymity, confirmed the attack, but could not give details of casualties, as he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

   Signing the MoU on behalf of the Police, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar said the timing for the capacity building/training programme was apt and must be welcomed considering the present challenges being experienced in the country and the forth coming general elections.

  The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle said the MoU represents the two countries’ “mutual commitment to engagement on institutional reforms at the NPF training academies. The goal of this project is to provide modernisation enhancements to the NPF’s training curriculum resulting in a well-trained police force dedicated to the highest ethical standards, proficient in law enforcement, preventing and detecting crime, preserving the peace, and protecting citizens’ rights.”

  The officials of the DFID while on a visit to the IGP did a formal presentation of strategic guidelines on counter-terrorism and eight other core areas of policing as applied in a democracy, to the Nigeria Police Force.

  These include counter-terrorism, integrated intelligence, community-policing, fleet management, human resource management, diversity, use of force, public relations and media.

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