AFRICANGLOBE – After a short lull, suicide bombers struck in Kano, Nigeria on Monday, leaving scores of people dead and several injured.
Although the official figures of those killed and injured in the explosions could not be obtained, other sources put the death toll at between 25 and 60.
Many others, whose number could also not be ascertained, were injured in the blasts.
Reacting to the bomb blasts, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned in strong terms the attack on the motor park, stating that it will not deter the Federal Government from its strong-willed determination to overcome those who do not mean well for the nation.
The president sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the blasts and the Kano State Government, stating that it will not be stampeded into abandoning its unrelenting war against terrorists in the country.
The bomb blasts also happened on a day the president had expressed the optimism that the seven construction workers kidnapped by an off-shoot of Boko Haram, Ansaru, on February 16 in Jama’are, Bauchi State, which the group claimed it had killed, might still be alive.
The Kano explosions, which occurred at about 4.45 pm during the peak period, were targeted at a motor park that is widely patronised by travelers.
It was gathered that the bombers hit a Lagos-bound 59-seater luxury bus, which was blown up as it was departing the motor park.
Other explosions were also heard within the vicinity of the motor park.
While some sources claimed that the bombs might have been concealed in luggage, which had been loaded on the bus, others said the suicide bombers had positioned a Volkswagen Golf car, primed with explosives, between two luxury buses and detonated the explosives immediately the driver of one of the buses was about to take off.
Shortly after the car, rigged with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), went off, two other explosions rocked the motor park.
The impact of the explosions was so severe that it led to the dismembering of limbs of some of the injured victims.
“I saw three buses on fire. One of them was fully loaded with passengers waiting to leave the station at the time of the blasts. At the moment, there are at least 20 dead,” said a rescue official who preferred anonymity.
The scene of the blast was cordoned off by members of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) to pave the way for the evacuation of both the dead and the injured, with the bodies of the dead were taken to the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital mortuary, Kano.
Speaking on the incident, the JTF spokesman, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, said it was too early to ascertain the casualty figures.
“Our interest now is to ensure that the injured are taken to the hospital for treatment, while efforts are being made by fire fighters to extinguish the raging flames in the park,” he said.
Also, a statement from the Head, Public Affairs, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Yashua Shuaib, said the casualty figures of the bomb blasts could not be ascertained yet.
“Rescuers and security personnel are yet to determine the source of the explosions that occurred at the motor park. While casualty figures are not available at the moment, the seriously injured have been taken to hospitals and bodies evacuated,” he said
But the state Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Tobias Idika, said from the records available to him, 60 persons died in the explosions while five luxury buses were burnt.
“This is the worst experience in the lives of the residents of Kano. We have lost over 60 souls, while five buses were burnt to ashes, which shows that innocent Nigerians have always been the target of the attack, moving without protection,” he said.
The AIG Zone 1, Mr. David Omojola, who visited the scene of the attacks, said except the police visited all the mortuaries and hospitals in the metropolis and its environs, they would not be able to give the casualty figures.
The AIG, who said he was accompanied by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Kano State Police Command, Mr. Musa Daura, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Emmanuel Okafor and other top police officers to the venue of the explosion, added that efforts were being made to ensure that the whole place is cordoned off against intruders and other criminally minded people.
Arab-Style Terrorism In Kano
However, prior to the multiple blasts in Kano, the president yesterday had expressed optimism that the seven construction workers in the custody of Ansaru, whom the group claimed to have killed, might still be alive.
He told visiting Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, whose citizens were among the kidnapped workers abducted in Jama’are, on February 16 that the Federal Government’s analysis of the report on the purported killing of the hostages did not support the execution claim by the terrorist group.
Ansaru on March 9 had claimed that it had executed the seven hostages, citing an attempt by Britain security forces to rescue them as its reason.
The names and nationalities of the slain foreign workers are: Brendan Vaughan (British), Silvano Trevisan (Italian), Imad Andari (Lebanese), Carlos Abou Aziz (Lebanese), Konstantinos Karras (Greek), Ghaida Saad (F/Syrian) and Julio Alkhouli (Syrian).
A day after the reported killing, Britain, Italy and Greece had confirmed that the hostages had been executed.
Notwithstanding the confirmation, Nigeria has maintained that since the bodies of the hostages had not been found, it was possible that they might still be alive.