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Tragic atrocity

By Donu Kogbara

ON Wednesday, Central London was plunged into chaos and carnage by a murderous maniac who targeted the area around the hallowed Houses of Parliament.

The depraved assailant has not been named at the time of writing this column; but we’ve been told by the UK authorities that he was a British Muslim extremist. And I’ve just heard that Islamic State, the deadly militant group, has claimed responsibility for the attack via Amaq, its news agency and propaganda arm.

The jihadi terrorist first launched his bloodthirsty assault on innocent fellow citizens and tourists in a car that he drove onto Westminster Bridge.

Having mowed down various individuals who’d had the misfortune to cross his path, he then crashed the car into the railings in front of the Palace of Westminster, the ancient seat of British democracy, then burst through the gate, then leapt out of the vehicle brandishing two knives and then stabbed Keith Palmer, a policeman.

By the time the assassin had finished this horrifying rampage, he and three other people were dead (he was eventually gunned down by Palmer’s colleagues); and several pedestrians – about 40 – had been injured, some very seriously. Law enforcement officials reacted swiftly and embarked on a series of nocturnal raids in London, Birmingham and elsewhere; and eight suspects (presumably associates or accomplices of the culprit) were arrested within hours at six different addresses.

President Buhari has sent a solidarity message to British Prime Minister, Theresa May, who has condoled the families of victims and defiantly declared that Britain will not be intimidated by terrorism.

Law enforcement and medical officials at the Houses of Parliament, scene of the terror attack

Meanwhile, Members of Parliament are maintaining a cool “business as usual” stance and have firmly assured their constituents and the general public that they will not allow this atrocity to prevent them from carrying on with their duties.

As MP Alan Brown said yesterday: “I feel a slight sense of apprehension, but we can’t let the crimes of one person prevent the working of Parliament”.

That’s the spirit, Mrs May and Mr Brown! I doff my cap to you and everyone on earth who flatly refuses to be cowed by humanity-hating religious fanatics!

The world is now accustomed to incidents like this as thugs who possess a warped view of Islam prey on anyone who gets in their way. Often, these sickos are suicidal as well as homicidal, not caring that they can easily be killed while they are killing.  I must confess that the question I frequently ask myself is not why such killing sprees happen at all but why they don’t happen more frequently, given that so many crowded public spaces – shops, transport hubs, restaurants, etc – in so many cities and so many countries are totally unprotected or only minimally protected.

Anyone can walk into all sorts of densely populated locations without being searched or questioned. Many potentially vulnerable organisations don’t employ armed security guards or ANY security guards. And it is, if you ask me, a miracle that terrorists do not efficiently exploit this widespread laxity on an hourly basis.

We should thank God for allowing us to sometimes forget that terrorists exist. Life would be unbearable if they were more active, if we had to be frisked and screened everywhere we went and if we had to constantly look over our shoulders.


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