BY NDAHI MARAMA, Maiduguri
A twin-bomb blast yesterday rocked Maiduguri, the Borno State capital killing eight persons including two policemen, four civilians and two bombers, even as 24 others sustained various degrees of injuries. One of the devastating explosions occurred at the police headquarters in the city.
The first Improvised Explosive Device, IED, which was concealed in a bag kept and hidden under a public shed, exploded around 6:00 am along the main road linking the junction of the Gidan Dambe ward with the metropolis, killing the suspected bomber.
The military Joint Task Force, JTF, Field Operations Commander, Colonel Victor Ebhaleme confirmed the early morning incident .
”There was an explosion in an area of Maiduguri this morning and our men were immediately deployed to the area,” Col Ebhaleme told newsmen, adding that, “We found a man we believe to be a member of terrorist group, dismembered by the explosion.
“Preliminary investigation has shown that he was killed when he was trying to plant the device.”
However, some residents said: “a resident known to be a drug addict, named Dalwa, tried to open the concealed bag to see what was inside it. The device exploded and killed him on the spot. His body was blown into pieces. But he was not a member of terrorist group.”
The second explosion which occurred at 11:26am was masterminded by a suspected car suicide bomber who in his attempt to gain entry into the state police command, hit the main gate of the police headquarters. The car then exploded, killing the suicide bomber, a police Inspector, a Traffic Warden and four civilians with several other policemen and passers-by sustaining various degrees of injuries, while the armoured tank which was stationed at the gate was turned upside down by vibrations from the blast.
Yesterday’s attack at the police headquarters on Damaturu road, directly oppositeGovernmentSecondary School inMaiduguri was the second time by a suicide bomber. The first occurred on August 15, last year, but he was however shot before detonating the bomb after gaining entry into headquarters. The Borno State Police Commissioner, Mr. Bala Hassan confirmed that a suicide bomber who wanted to gain entry into the headquarters with his vehicle hit the police main gate, where two policemen and a civilian were killed including the suicide bomber, while several others sustained injuries and were taken to various hospitals for treatment.
But a highly placed source at the state SpecialistHospitalin Maidugurisaid they received six dead bodies, while 16 others who were seriously injured were currently receiving treatment.
Also, at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH, a source said they received eight other people who were seriously injured in the police headquarters’ suicide bombing, adding that ‘’they are presently receiving treatment.’’
It was gathered that immediately after the Police suicide bomb attack, heavy gun fire engulfed the volatile city as the wholeMaiduguriremained at standstill, as there was no vehicular movements for about three hours, a situation that prevented some Muslim faithful performing their usual Friday Jumat prayers.