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Boko Haram attacks army formation in Kaduna with heavy explosives

8, 2012 BY SEGUN OLATUNJI AND FIDELIS SORIWEI 8 COMMENTS

Suspected members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, early Tuesday launched daring attacks at military formations, including the headquarters of 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, in Kaduna.

While the explosion at the 1 Division went off at about 8.45 am, another explosion was heard 15 minutes after, at the popular Kawo Flyover in the Kaduna metropolis. Yet a third explosion occurred barely 30 minutes after, around the Nigerian Air Force Base located about 500 metres away from the bridge.

The violent sect had not claimed responsibility for the attacks as at the time of going to press.

Many, especially soldiers, were said to have been wounded in the attacks while one of the suicide bombers who attempted to crash through the gates of the barracks was gunned down by soldiers.

The Army authorities confirmed the attack in a statement late Tuesday, revealing that two suicide bombers were involved in the “failed suicide attack on Headquarters 1 Division Nigerian Army.”

The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations of the Division, Lt. Col. Abubakar Edun, in the one-page statement made available to newsmen at about 6.45pm explained that the two suicide bombers simultaneously rammed their separate explosive-laden vehicles through the main gates leading to the formation’s premises.

The statement says, “At about 12.18pm on Tuesday, 7 February 2012, a failed suicide bomb attempt was made on the Headquarters Complex of 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kawo, Kaduna.

“The two suicide bombers came in two vehicles, a Sienna Toyota space bus and a Honda Accord. The drivers of the two vehicles overran the security post and the lawn leading to the Headquarters Complex. One of the vehicles (Toyota Sienna space bus) exploded by the car park directly in front of the headquarters when a soldier opened fire on the car after the attacker refused to stop which made him lose control of the vehicle.

“The second vehicle which did not explode (Honda Accord) was loaded with 10 numbers of 20 litres of Improvised Explosive Devices; Four number of 30 litres containers loaded with IEDs; and two numbers of large peak containers also loaded with IEDS.

“The suicide bomber in the Sienna space bus died in the attempt, while there was no casualty on the part of our troops.”

The statement was silent on the fate of the second bomber.

The attack, according to witnesses, left heavy casualties. Our correspondent learnt that at least four unidentified persons died in the explosion that followed the shooting of the bomber who had overrun the gate of the formation.

Injured soldiers whose uniforms were soaked in blood were reportedly seen being evacuated to undisclosed hospitals. Eyewitnesses’ account also indicated that the impact of the explosion also destroyed a part of the Administrative Building and that window glass pane and doors were shattered. The multiple explosions caused commotion in several parts of the metropolis as residents ran helter-skelter to take refuge from the explosions. Traders at the weekly Kawo market abruptly closed their shops.

Schools within the vicinity of the multiple explosions were also forced to close for the day as parents and guardians besieged the schools to withdraw their children and wards.

Heavily armed soldiers however cordoned off the scenes of the explosions, preventing journalists and other residents from getting closer. Soldiers at the 1 Division of the Army seized cameras belonging to the reporters of the African Independent Television and Kaduna State Government-owned Capital TV for attempting to take shots from the scenes of the blasts.

Also, the roads leading to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House office of the state governor was also cordoned off.

Our correspondent observed a Toyota Hiace bus belonging to the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association conveying casualties from the 1 Division explosion to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital. The bus was escorted by armed soldiers.

Armed soldiers manning the gate to the 44 Army Reference Hospital prevented journalists and other anxious residents from gaining access to the wards to see the victims.

The Command Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Air Force, Kaduna Training Command, Squadron Leader Kabir Ali, in his reaction said, “The bomb exploded outside the premises of the Air Force Base and as such, the Air Force does not have opinion on the explosion. Although the scene of the explosion is close to the NAF Base gate, it wasn’t within our premises.”

Asked whether NAF was considering an investigation of the incident, the Air Force spokesman said, “No, since it is not within our premises. Investigation is left for the police to carry out. We wouldn’t know where they were carrying the bomb to before it exploded.”

 

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Posted by on Feb 7 2012. Filed under Latest Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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