By Levinus Nwabughiogu & Susan Edeh (With agency reports)
IG orders deployment of strike units for Christmas
GOMBE—NO fewer than 20 people lost their lives with 25 others sustaining various degrees of injuries in yesterday’s bomb blast at Dukku motor park in Gombe.
In like manner, 10 people were killed yesterday evening in a blast that occurred at the ever-busy Central Market in Bauchi with scores sustaining serious injuries.
Eyewitnesses said a female suicide bomber carried out the act as a fully loaded bus was about to depart. The bomb was planted near the bus, filled with passengers, said Mato Yakubu of the National Orientation Agency.
We evacuated 20 dead bodies –Red Cross
Malam Abubakar Yakubu, Secretary of the Nigeria Red Cross Society, Gombe State branch, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe that members of the society evacuated 20 identified dead bodies and deposited at the Gombe Specialist Hospital mortuary.
He said the 18 that sustained injuries were admitted at the specialist hospital and at the Musaba Clinic.
Abubakar Yakubu said his staff sent 20 body bags to the scene and “they have all been exhausted. We are still looking for more bodies in the carnage,” he told AFP.
How a lady detonated the bomb –Witnesses
Malam Ibrahim Mamuda, an eye witness and driver at the park, said the bomb exploded around 11 a.m. According to him, the bomb exploded in a Volkswagen Sharon car and before they realized what was happening, two cars were also burnt.
His words: “We started seeing human parts and blood everywhere, as you can see, there is blood everywhere.”
Malam Ibrahim Labibi, a commercial bus driver at the park, said he saw a young woman who came along with a boy and dropped her bag in the Volkswagen Sharon car.
“It was after she dropped the bag that the car exploded and I myself counted about 21 dead bodies,” Labibi said.
Female bomber disguised as a passenger –Witness
Another eye witness told journalists that the female bomber who disguised as a passenger took advantage of a fully loaded bus which was departing for its destination.
The source added that she kept a bag filled with explosives in a Volkswagen Sharon car, later left the scene and detonated the explosives from a distance, killing scores of people.
Those who died included hawkers while a couple of vehicles were burnt in the fire that ensued.
19 persons died, 25 injured —Police
Police authorities in Gombe, capital of Gombe State said 19 persons died while 25 were critically injured. Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, of the state police command, DSP Fwaji Atajiri stated that the area had been cordoned off, adding that those taken to the state specialist hospital in the town were responding to treatment.
Violence in the North-East is escalating ahead of the February 14, 2015 general elections, with many concerned that voting might be impossible in large parts of the region.
Gombe was hit by a triple bombing blamed on the Islamists on October 31. The state shares a border with Borno and Yobe, two of the states worst affected by Boko Haram’s five-year insurgency which has cost more than 13,000 lives.
Boko Haram gunmen stormed Geidam in Yobe on Sunday, setting fire to several buildings and forcing residents to flee to the bush, witnesses said.
“They were chanting Allahu Akbar and firing shots and throwing bombs,” said a resident, Adamu Shehu.
“We spent a night in the bush but from afar we could see in the darkness flames and smoke coming from the town,” he said. Geidam is the home town of Yobe’s Governor Ibrahim Geidam and his home was also razed, witnesses said.
The attackers rampaged late into the night and reportedly faced no resistance from the military. While some people fled, others locked themselves in houses that were later torched and locals were going door-to-door to see if any lives were lost.
“Our town is a mess,” said resident Brema Umar, who reported that scores of people had fled overnight, many towards Yobe’s capital, Damaturu, 180 kilometres (110 miles) to the north.
Details of attacks in the remote region often take several days to emerge due to the poor mobile phone network.
10 die in Bauchi market blast
Vanguard gathered that the Bauchi market blast occurred a few minutes before 6pm when people were preparing to close for the day in a shop where the bomb was planted.
At the scene, tension was very high as security agents fired gun shots to scare away angry youths who had started pelting them with stones and other objects.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Mu’azu Musa, said that he saw charred bodies of victims as they were being evacuated from the scene.
Musa, who said he was an Okada (commercial motorcycle) rider and was by the roundabout near the market when the blast occurred, said that he fell down from his motorcycle when he saw the charred bodies of the victims, adding that he lost consciousness as a result of the fall only to see himself in the hospital.
Red Cross officials evacuated victims to the Trauma Centre of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH).
Speaking with journalists at the hospital, the Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of the hospital, who is in charge of clinical matters, Dr. Saidu Abubakar Kadas, stated that the actual figure of thecasualties could not be ascertained yet as victims were being brought in.
He, however, assured that the teaching hospital was in a better position to handle the situation as most of its health workers had been mobilised to attend to the victims.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the ATBUTH branch of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Idris Ado, a pharmacist, said that the incident was unfortunate and regrettable.
According to him, the health workers who were currently on strike had been directed to report for work tomorrow (today) to take care of the victims.
It’s barbaric — Yuguda
Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, condemned the bomb blast, describing it as an unfortunate and barbaric incident aimed at disrupting the peace being enjoyed in the state.
The governor, according to a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Deacon Ishola Michael Adeyemi, condemned the perpetrators of the heinous act, describing them as cowards who were always happy to spill innocent blood without any justification.
He, however, reassured the people of the state that his administration would not relent in its efforts to ensure that lives and property of law-abiding citizens were protected at all cost, adding that the administration had always collaborated with security agents to maintain peace and peaceful coexistence among the diverse people of the state.
I-G orders deployment of strike units, tasks AIGs, CPs on visibility policing for Chirstmas
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, has ordered a nationwide deployment of police strike units for a water-tight security throughout the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Force Spokesman, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, yesterday, in Abuja.
The affected units are Police Mobile Force, Special Protection Unit, Counter-Terrorism Unit, Explosive Ordinance Department, Dog Section and Mounted Troops.
Abba also ordered the police air wing to carry out air surveillance patrols, while the Marine Police should ensure a sustained patrol of all the water ways.
He directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of state commands to put in place extended “police visibility and patrols.”
The IG enjoined them to do this taking into consideration the peculiar security situation to enable them protect the citizens as they celebrate.
Abba advised operators of public places such as hotels, viewing and recreation centres to be vigilant and ensure that they properly screen all visitors/users of their facilities during the period.
“Members of the public are also urged to report any suspicious movement in their areas to the police,” he charged.
Police begin sale of admission forms
Meanwhile, the force has announced the commencement of sales of forms for admission into its degree awarding institution in Kano, the Police Academy, Wudil.
A statement signed by the force spokesman, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, yesterday, said the sales of the forms began on Nov. 12 and was expected to end on March 31, 2015.