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May Day Tragedy: Scores die in fresh Abuja bombing

BY Soni Daniel, Emma Ujah, Ben Agande, Henry Umoru, Joseph Erunke & Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA — EXACTLY 18 days after deadly bomb blasts at Nyanya bus terminal in Abuja killed 75 people and injured 200 others, Nigerians were thrown into mourning, yesterday evening, with another blast, which at press time had claimed at least 17 lives and scores more injured.

Yesterday’s attack took place at Wazobia Park, Nyanya, opposite where the last attacks occured.

As at 9:05 pm, 17 corpses were counted at the Emergency Ward of the Asokoro Hospital, while the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, ambulances were still rushing to ferry in more of the dead and the wounded.

THE BLAST —Scene of the blast in Abuja, yesterday. Photos: Emma Ujah & Gbemiga Olamikan.
THE BLAST —Scene of the blast in Abuja, yesterday. Photos: Emma Ujah & Gbemiga Olamikan.

One eyewitness said he saw 20 bodies at the scene.

The bombers, whose identities were yet to be unmasked, struck at the same transit point they attacked exactly 18 days ago.

No group has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack.

At Asokoro General Hospital, 16 dead bodies were on the ground. Many people, families and friends were in the hospital while many were outside because the hospital gates were shut against the crowd coming into the hospital. Many people were seen wailing and making phone calls.

The blasts occurred as workers and residents who went for the May Day celebration were returning to their bases. Initial reports said a number of people have been killed and many more have been injured.

Eyewitnesses said it was caused by a car bomb. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram had previously staged attacks in Abuja. Most of Boko Haram attacks had been in the North-East geo-political zone especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. The April 14 bombing raised fears that the militants could be trying to expand their area of operation.

Click to read how it happened by NEMA

Unlike the last blast, which was targeted at the major bus terminal, the latest attack was concentrated on the opposite side of the terminal, which is used by commuters.

Security men, who were taken unawares by the deadly attack, promptly mobilised and blocked all routes leading to and from the scene of the attack.

The development caused traffic snarl on the Nyanya-Abuja-Keffi Road and frustrated many commuters. The road leading into Abuja from Nasarawa State was cordoned off with vehicles diverted through Karu, a satellite town in the FCT.

Another report said the incident happened at Wazobia Park, at the foot of the bridge, directly opposite the Nyanya park where the last one occurred.

The corpses were brought from Nyanya to Asokoro Hospital by two Police pick-up vans and a NEMA ambulance. Doctors were immediately mobilized from their homes to the hospital to attend to those injured, as they were at home because of the public holiday.

As at 9.45pm officials of the hospital came out with black body bags to cover the corpses as they were initially brought out from the hospital ward and put on the field outside.

Vanguard gathered that the Asokoro Hospital was short of black body bags to cover corpses.

According to a source, some of the injured persons and corpses were moved to Karshi, Nyanya General Hospital, a private hospital, Panaf Hospital located in Nyanya; Maitama District Hospital and Mararaba General Hospital.

As at 9.50pm, another NEMA ambulance came with one injured man of about 20 years. The ambulance was accompanied by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC and the Red cross.

At Asokoro Hospital, stand-by NEMA ambulances increased to three.

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