16 August 2011

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Suicide Bomber Killed in Maiduguri

A 25-year-old suicide bomber was yesterday shot dead by the police when he rammed the vehicle he was driving into the gate of the state police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State and headed straight for the main building in an attempt to bomb it.

The suicide bomber was suspected to be a member of the Boko Haram sect in the state.

Confirming the incident to journalists during a press briefing at the state police headquarters, Maiduguri, the commissioner of police, Borno State Command, Mr. Simeon Midenda, said that sometime last week, his command received a threat text message, that the police cadet officers screening exercise slated for yesterday would be disrupted by a faceless group.

He said the development prompted him to beef up security around the police headquarters and other formations.

Narrating the incident, Midenda explained that at about 12:15pm, the suicide bomber crashed through the gate of the police headquarters in a Honda Accord saloon car with registration number AP 851 ABJ, and headed for the main building with the intention of detonating bombs close to his office.

However, before the bomber could carry out his plan, armed policemen on guard within the premises opened fire on him. He further said, "On reaching the vehicle, our men discovered that the boot was loaded with gas cylinders containing explosives connected with wires ready for detonation."

The commissioner said that the bomb disposal unit was promptly drafted to the scene, where, he claimed, they successfully incapacitated the improvised explosive devices (IED).

Our correspondent also gathered that items recovered from the car included six 13.6kg gas cylinders, each connected with wires; one air conditioner gas cylinder; two 25 litre jerry cans of fuel; one tin of Abro, five-litre volume and one Acid Orange drum of 28kg weight.

The CP said no written documents were recovered, saying that investigations had begun in earnest to unravel those behind the dastardly act.

He also called on the general public to continue to pray for the police so that God would touch the perpetrators of the continued bomb attacks to have a change of heart, so that peace, which had eluded the state, would be restored.

Recall that a suicide bomber, the first in the history of the country, had similarly crashed his way into the force headquarters in Abuja recently, where life and properties were lost, a development that led to criticism of the police by the general public.

Meanwhile, Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda, has said that the Boko Haram religious sect in the North is an offshoot of the Taliban, adding that only the present generation of Nigerians could tackle the problem.

Yuguda, who spoke during an interaction with journalists at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, yesterday, said that the head of the Taliban was arrested some years back, while urging President Goodluck Jonathan to help in addressing the Boko Haram issue.

Meanwhile, riots erupted in parts of Plateau State yesterday, forcing the newly constituted state executive to call off a one-week retreat which was due to hold at Obudu Cattle Ranch, Cross River State. The development came just as no fewer than 15 persons lost their lives in the northern senatorial district of the state in a midnight attack.

Thousands of travellers remain stranded at the Maraba Jama'a area with the members of the Special Task Force (STF), who have been accused by the youths in Korot village, Foron district of Barkin Ladi local government area of providing cover for their assailants.

Chairman of Barkin Ladi, Hon. Emmanuel Loman, who confirmed the attack could not say who the attackers were, just as he said some people were pointing accusing fingers at the STF.

The situation in Jos remained tense as people abandoned their duty posts to rush back home because of the heavy presence of STF men, who took over strategic points to guard against any further breakdown of law and order.

It would seem that all the five local governments of Plateau State's northern senatorial zone are under siege, as there has been a series of random attacks.

The Heipang attack on the home of Mr. Nnaji, an Igbo man, while watching the Nigeria-France tournament allegedly left seven members of his family dead.

An unsigned document, released by the STF spokesman, Capt. Charles Ekeocha, said the youths in Heipang, who demonstrated over the killings, demanded for the immediate withdrawal of troops, as they reportedly stoned STF vehicles and soldiers' residences, which they ransacked in the area.

The statement confirmed that in retaliation of the youths' attack on the soldiers, "one of the vigilantes with AK-47 rifle and 30 rounds of 7.62 (special) was shot. He died on the way to the hospital".

It added that, "To avoid more casualties, troops have been withdrawn to Maraban-Jama'a, Jos. However, the general area has been beefed up with troops of STF".

Mrs. Margaret Deme Dung, whose husband was allegedly shot in her presence, said those who killed her husband came in black attire and were escorted by soldiers.

She also claimed that when they knocked on their door, her husband, who was an official of First Bank and was in the village for the weekend, opened the door and was subsequently shot and killed, leaving her with five children to cater for.

The attackers were said to have gone to their next-door neighbours, where they reportedly shot dead two brothers, Samuel and Adamu Gwom. Their mother, Ngo Chang Gwom also told newsmen that some of them wore army uniforms, while others were in black attire.

Reacting to the development, the special adviser to the governor on media and publicity, Mr. Pam Ayuba said government was making frantic efforts to unravel those behind the killings, which he said were disheartening.

He said that Governor Jang was "really pained" over the sad incident, adding that a security meeting was underway and the outcome would be made known with time. He advised that people should give peace a chance, because government attaches importance to human life.

Meanwhile, the STF has arrested one Mr. Isaac Namua, Daddy Moses and Lawrence Dina in Angwan Rukuba in Jos, Plateau State, in connection with the killing and dumping of the corpse of Kamilu Yahaya, a commercial motorcyclist, into a river.

According to the STF, the suspects on arrest, confessed to the killing and were handed over to the police for investigation and prosecution.

Also, another bomb attack occurred yesterday in Tambuwal community, a 100km from Sokoto city, the hometown of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal. The police in the state said the command was on the top of the situation adding investigation was ongoing on the matter.

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