Disturbing Picture: Boko Haram bomb death toll rises to 162Boko Haram, Kano, Latest Politics, State News Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
The death toll of Friday’s multiple bomb attacks and shooting in Kano rose to over 160 on Saturday, making it the highest that the country has recorded in the history of Boko Haram bomb blasts.
An official at the city’s main mortuary, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Agence France Presse, said they had received 162 bodies, with more bodies being expected.
“We have been receiving dead bodies since last night from agencies involved in the evacuation of bodies. At this moment we have 162 bodies in the morgue and this figure may change because bodies are still being brought,” he said.
He added that families had started identifying, withdrawing and taking corpses of their relatives.
Shortly after the multiple blasts went off, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The sect’s spokesman, Abul Qaqa said the attacks were in response to the refusal of the Kano State Government to release some of their members arrested in the state.
He added that they were forced to resort to the attacks after an open letter sent in 2011 to prominent people in the state was ignored.
The streets of the city with a population of 10 million were immediately deserted after the attacks, forcing the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew.
Armed soldiers manned the streets and some public buildings on Saturday even as most residents remained indoors.
A resident in the Sabon Gari area of the city, Martin Egbuta, told SUNDAY PUNCH that residents were scared of the possibility of more ttacks.
“Right now nobody is moving in Kano. Everywhere is deserted because there is 24-hour curfew and soldiers are everywhere. The markets have been closed. Even people who were travelling out of Kano were stopped. Everybody is afraid and it is just like we are under house arrest,” he said.
Egbuta added that the fear was heightened by some fliers distributed by members of the dreaded sect just after the attacks.
He said the message on the fliers which was written in Hausa language was that the sect carried out the attacks because the police were arresting their members and branding them armed robbers.
“In the fliers, they said if police touch their members, they would attack again. They also said they are angry with the government and the Christian Association of Nigeria, because Christians had killed their people before and that government is helping them. They said they kill even Muslims that try to help the government,” he said.
Although the sect had targeted Christians and southerners in recent attacks, the Kano attacks were on police stations and buildings of other government agencies, such as the State Security Service and the Nigerian Immigration Service.
The first explosion was said to have gone off about 5pm at the Zone 1 headquarters of the Police, along Bayero University Road.
According to eyewitnesses, the blast occurred when a suicide bomber driving a Volkswagen Golf, refused to go through check at the gate before crashing through the gate and ramming his car into vehicles parked beside the main building.
The attacks that occurred simultaneously in different locations, also affected some residential areas, including an area near the SSS headquarters, where some expatriates, particularly Lebanese and Indians, were wounded.
According to residents, aid workers, including soldiers, officials from the Red Cross and the National Emergency Management Agency, had difficulty evacuating corpses and taking the wounded to hospitals.
In would be recalled that the sect released a video about a week before the attack, threatening to continue attacks. It boasted in the video that government cannot stop it.
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