By Ndahi Marama & Marie-Therese Nanlong, with agency reports
MAIDUGURI— Thirty- five people were killed when suicide bombers struck in Borno and Plateau States, yesterday.
A suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus station in Borno State, killing 17 persons while a second bomber was shot dead before he could detonate his explosives.
In the neighbouring Plateau State, 17 people were also killed when a twin blasts hit two motor parks along Bauchi Road in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday,
The blasts were said to have occurred at about 6pm when residents were returning to their houses during the evening rain.
Babagana Kyari, a civilian vigilante in Borno State said: “At least 18 people, including three women, died… and several others were injured” in an account supported by a local resident, Ali Dauda.
The attack happened after two men arrived the Tashar Gandu motor park on the edge of the town in Borno State, where one detonated his explosives among passengers and vendors, onlookers said.
The two men in the latest attack pretended to be traders leaving Biu after business at the main market, which takes place every Thursday and Sunday, said Kyari.
“The two men came as if they were travellers and one of them detonated his explosives in the midst of travellers and petty traders,” the vigilante added.
“But the second man was shot and killed by soldiers before he could pull the trigger.”
Dauda said the scene was cordoned off by soldiers and vigilantes, while they waited the arrival of the police bomb squad to defuse the unexploded explosives on the second attacker.
“His body was abandoned at the scene of the blast which was cordoned off with the hope the explosives would explode by themselves,” he added.
“When the explosives failed to explode after a long wait a mob who gathered near the scene took the risk and sprinkled gasoline on the body and threw fire at it from a distance.
“The body caught fire and exploded without harming anyone.”
In Jos, Plateau State, the bombers were said to have taken advantage of the rain to hit their targets but details of the incidents were not yet available as security personnel and other humanitarian agencies were still working to give accurate figure of those affected.
The death toll at the twin blasts which occurred almost simultaneously in two motor parks along Bauchi road in Jos, the Plateau State capital is yet to be confirmed.
A resident of the area, Umar Awwal said the explosives were thrown from moving vehicles by the bombers who took advantage of the heavy downpour of Thursday evening and the blasts had “claimed many lives and left others seriously injured.”
A junior staff of the University of Jos whose Main Campus along Bauchi road is just a few meters from the scenes said he heard the first blast at about 6 pm but thought it was thunder as the result of the downpour but the second blast drew residents’ attention that the sound was not that of a thunder.
The staff who did not want to be named added that he counted six bodies but could not confirm the total number of death as he was scared of getting close to security vehicles which were used to evacuate the bodies from the scenes.
However, the North Central Zone Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency, Mohammed Abdulsalami was unable to give details as he said the agency was working to rescue the survivors.
Media Officer of the Special Task Force, STF, Capt Ikedichi Iweha said his men were still busy “taking care of the aftermath” of the blasts to have authoritative figures.