By KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Inalegwu Shaibu, Luka Binniyat & Abdallah el-Kurebe
ABUJA— Gunmen, yesterday, attacked a house under construction belonging to the Vice President, Namadi Sambo in Tudun Wada area of Zaria, Kaduna State. This came as two suicide bombers also, yesterday, attacked two police formations in Sokoto, killing a policeman and a woman, while the two bombers also died in the process.
Meanwhile, Senate President, David Mark has condemned the bombing of Sokoto zonal office of the Nigeria Police.
The Acting Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Command, DSP Abubakar Balteh, who confirmed the attack said the policemen guarding the house repelled the gunmen but a cobbler was killed by a stray bullet as a result of the exchange of fire between the three gunmen and the police. The cobbler died while one of the policemen was shot on the leg”, he said.
It would be recalled that the Vice President’s residence was razed during the violence that erupted in some parts of the north after the last Presidential election.
Suicide bombers attack police stations in Sokoto
It was the first time such bomb attacks would be carried out in Sokoto State, regarded as the heart beat of Islam, more so during the holy month of Ramadan.
The first of the bomb attacks was carried out at the office of AIG Zone 10, Sokoto at about 10.46am
The blast shattered the office of the AIG and damaged his official car while, the impact also affected the office of the Divisional Police Officer and other shops opposite the zonal police headquarters.
Speaking with newsmen at the scene of the incidence, the AIG, Alhaji Mukhtari Ibrahim said that the bomber and a police corporal, Ismail were killed while eight other police officers had various degrees of injuries.
“We had an unfortunate incident where a suicide bomber rammed into the headquarters with car and killed himself. A police corporal, by name Ismail was also killed and eight other officers were injured,” Ibrahim said.
Police authorities in Abuja confirmed that four persons including two suicide bombers, one police officer and a lady hair dresser lost their lives in the two bomb attacks targeted at the office of AIG Zone 10, Sokoto, and a Police Station located at Angwar Rago area of the state.
Force spokesman, CSP Frank Mba who made the confirmation, explained that the first suicide bomber tried to make his way through the main gate to the office of AIG Muktari Ibrahim to achieve his sinister aim but was prevented by security measures put in place by the police.
He subsequently decided to go through a second gate that was securely locked but some policemen were also keeping guard there. He rammed the explosive-laden car on the gate, killed himself in the process and injured one of the policemen on guard. The officer died before he could get to the hospital. Six persons who were standing nearby sustained minor injuries owing to shock.
In the second attack, the suicide bomber targeted the Police station at Angwar Rago but met it heavily protected by Police personnel. He then made a detour apparently to find another way to the station. On the road, however, the bombs in the Volkswagen Gulf salon car he was driving exploded killing the bomber and a lady hairdresser who was opposite the exploded vehicle.
CSP Mba disclosed that security has been beefed up in the Sokoto metropolis and that AIG Muktari has deployed police re-enforcements including Police Bomb disposal experts and anti-terrorists squad to the nooks and crannies of the state to ensure law and order. He added that investigations has already commenced into the bombing incidents.
Mark condemns Sokoto bombing
Meanwhile, Senate President, David Mark has condemned the attacks. Senator Mark in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Kola Ologbondiya lamented the spate of bombings in the country. He urged the Boko Haram sect to embrace dialogue as a way to end the mindless killings of Nigerians.
Mark also lauded security operatives in the state, and urged them to put more efforts in curbing the activities of the sect, pointing out that the recent attack shows that the security operatives may have become complacent.
The statement read: “The security agents in Sokoto State appeared to have perfected the method of thwarting the activities of these nefarious men before this latest attack.
“But the security agents in Sokoto State must not allow this ugly incident to cow them. They must rise to the challenge and return Sokoto to its peaceful state.”
The Senate President further urged political and religious leaders in the country to continue to appeal to the members of Boko Haram to accept the dialogue overtures offered by the Federal Government.
According to him, “the Federal Government will not dialogue with itself. It has to dialogue with those who are disenchanted with the system, particularly, leadership and members of the Boko Haram sect.
“We shall continue to call on members of the sect to accept the dialogue overture offered by the Federal Government. We also urge our political and religious leaders to continue to appeal to the sect to listen to the voice of reason.”
Gunmen exchange fire with police in Sokoto
Just as the Police in Sokoto are battling to contain the two incidences of bomb blasts, which occurred in the morning hours of yesterday, some unknown gunmen attacked the Arkilla Divisional office this evening at about 6.55pm.
According to Vanguard source, two people approached the police division on a motor bike and opened fire and the Police also fired back and an exchange ensued.
When Vanguard contacted the PPRO, DSP Sani Salihu, he confirmed the story but said that no casualty was recorded.
“This is true. Two unknown gunmen went to the Division on a motorcycle and started firing. There was exchange but, as I talk to you now, no casualty has been reported,” Salihu said.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in Sokoto metropolis.