By Ndahi Marama & Bala Ajiya; Damaturu & Peter Duru, Makurdi
It was a bloody Eid-el-Fitri celebrations in Benue state, and Damaturu the Yobe state following the killing of about 35 persons including a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stalwart and elder statesman, Chief Atoza Ihindan, in Katsina/Ala local government area of the state.
In Damaturu the Yobe state capital the Eid-el-Fitr celebration, was marred by bomb explosion in two locations in the heart of the troubled North-East state. The explosions which went off at the phase one secretariat and the Gwange-sabon Pegi by cemetery road left 15 people dead, over 40 injured thwarting the festivity in the town.
The streets of Damaturu were immediately deserted as the early morning blast forced security operatives to adjust the restriction of movement from 6pm to 2pm.
The early morning twin blast, according to the State Commissioner of Police Markus Danladi, claimed 13 lives and was masterminded by female bombers.
The Medical Director of the Damaturu specialist hospital, Dr Adamu Fika said 15 people died in the blast as 41 others sustained various degrees of injury.
Although the early bomb blast could not affect Eid-prayers as hundreds of Muslim worshippers attended the prayers at various locations to thank Allah for the success of the Ramadan fast.
The Chief of Army Staff, Major general Tukur Yusuf Buratai joined the State Governor and some government officials and military personnel in the Eid prayer held at the Yobe Mosque and Islamic Centre.
Shortly after the prayer, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam appreciated the coming of the Army chief saying he has a lot ahead of him in maintaining peace in the troubled area.
Buratai on his part said he was in the state to celebrate the sallah with troops on ground saying his coming here was strategic.
He also said it would equally stimulate military/civil relationship and boost the morale of the troops, adding that the visit will afford him the opportunity to assess the equipment on ground and to assess the level of the threat posed by the Boko Haram militants.
While in the State, the COAS held discussions with officers and men on ground with a view to strategising in the fight against the insurgency.
In Benue state it was a bloody Eid-el-Fitri celebrations , following the killing of about 20 persons including a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stalwart and an elder statesman, Chief Atoza Ihindan, in Katsina/Ala local government area of the state.
Saturday Vanguard learned from a source that the septuagenarian and Second Republic lawmaker was waylaid and gunned down Friday morning in Katsina/Ala town by some unidentified persons while inspecting ongoing work on the perimeter fence he was constructing round his piece of land.
According to the source, “the three armed men riding on a motorbike, waylaid Chief Ihindan at his construction site in Katsina/Ala town on Friday morning around 10am.
“They stormed the place in a commando style, though, the old man had with him, his aide and a police escort who after noticing the armed men, made desperate effort to defend Chief Ihinda, but he was overpowered by the well armed men who had superior fire power.
“They succeeded in killing the old man after shooting his police escort who was seriously injured and in critical condition at a public hospital in Katsina/Ala at the moment.”
“After successfully executing their assignment, the gang fled and the suspicion is that it was that same gang or members of the same group of bandits that raided a beer parlor at a market square in Tor Donga, last night, where 12 persons including a woman, who was the attendant and her one year old baby were killed on the spot.
“After raiding and killing their victims at the drinking spot, the gang sped off on their motorbike and continued shooting indiscriminately at any person they came across. This led to the killing of another seven persons including a teacher in one of the local schools in the community.”