Some soldiers and civilians have been arrested in connection with the suicide bomb blasts that rocked the military Protestant church inside the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna, yesterday, a military source told LEADERSHIP last night.
This came as the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Bola Koleosho, confirmed 11 killed while 30 were injured in the bombing.
Another source however said that 20 worshippers, including a senior military officer, were killed in the church that has a total of 1,200 worshippers. The area was cordoned off immediately the incident happened, thereby preventing journalists from gaining access to the scene.
The blast which affected mostly women and children, left many worshippers severely injured including a senior military officer (names withheld).
Our correspondent gathered that the suicide bombers drove past the command's gate in a Toyota Camry car and a bus.
LEADERSHIP exclusively gathered that the bombers tricked the soldiers at the gate and passed with the cars loaded with bombs and other church materials.
A source within the military formation who pleaded anonymity, said, "The bombers came through the entrance gate and claimed they were conveying equipment to the church in preparation of next weekend of year bazaar and thanksgiving service."
"The bombers hurried through the main military gate and when reaching the protestant church, parked the car at the window of the church choir stand, and immediately, the first explosion took place. The second one exploded and killed over 20, including a senior officer. It happened around noon while they also wanted to bomb the Catholic church," the source said.
Another source, who worships in the devastated church, told our correspondent that many military personnel of the Protestant faith worship in the targeted church.
Our correspondents report that the victims were rushed to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital and the 44 Army Reference Hospital.
Confirming the incident, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Bola Koleosho said, "There were twin suicide bombings yesterday at St. Andrew Military Protestant Church, Jaji Military cantonment, at 1205 hours and 1215 hours."
"A bus first ran into the church and exploded about five minutes after service while a Toyota Camry parked outside the church detonated 10 minutes later. Figures of casualties are 11 dead and about 30 injured. The injured are receiving treatment at Military hospitals both in Jaji and Kaduna," he said.
According to him, investigations into the bombings have commenced and the area already cordoned off."
A source who worships in the devastated church, told our correspondent that many military personnel of the Protestant faith worship in the targeted church.
Although details are still sketchy, LEADERSHIP gathered that there were many casualties.
Kaduan State Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, through his media adviser, Reuben Buhari, said "It is with deep sadness that we sympathise with the family of those affected in the unfortunate incidence. No matter what happened, we are convinced that evil will never triumph over good forever and as such, we call on all to continue to cooperate with the government and security agencies to prevent incidents like this."
Attack cruel, wicked - Northern Governors
The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has commiserated with the Nigerian military over a deadly bomb incident which killed scores of worshippers at the St Andrews Protestant Church located within the Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State, describing the attack as cruel and wicked.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu described the reported death of officers, men and members of their families as a great national loss.
In a statement signed by Governor Aliyu's Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the forum said the deceased were heroes and heroines who died in the course of service to our fatherland, and prayed that God will grant repose to their souls and give their families and friends the fortitude to bear the loss.
The statement urged the military not to be discouraged by the dastardly act, emphasizing that the nation would forever remain grateful to the military and other security agencies for the successes recorded so far in the war against terror.
The forum reiterated its commitment to continue to work closely with the federal government in finding a lasting solution to the security challenges confronting the nation.
Tambuwal condemns attack
For his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has condemned Sunday's bomb blast which claimed multiple lives at the Jaji Military Cantonment in Kaduna State.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal urged the security agencies not to despair over the attack on their facilities.
He said no religion condones attack on innocent worshippers, and urged all those behind the bombings to stop forthwith.
While grieving with the families of those who lost loved ones in the unfortunate attack in Jaji, Tambuwal prayed for the quick recovery for those injured in the bombings.
He restated the commitment of the House of Representatives to do everything possible to assist security and other relevant agencies to tackle the problems of insecurity in the country.
Gunmen kill man, wife, child in Kano
A family of three, a man, his wife and a child were reportedly shot dead in Kano, yesterday, as unknown gunmen riding on a motorbike shot and killed them at close range while coming out of their residence in Na'ibawa quarters.
The tragic murder took place around 8.30 in the morning, bringing such incidences to five in series within one month in the Naibawa vicinity.
Sources said, the area is gradually slipping into notoriety as a result of serial killings.
According to an eyewitness account, the victims, who hailed from the South Eastern part of the country, were in a red Golf car and were reversing out of their compound to head for their worship place.
It was gathered that there were some vehicles parked in the premises in a single row as they were trying to manoeuvre their way out of the compound, when suddenly the two gunmen riding on motorbike stormed the area shot and killed them instantly.
An eye witness said a few moments after the gunmen escaped from the scene, Operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF), backed with an armoured tank arrived and cordoned off the area.
Some of the security men reportedly spread to the adjoining streets, and provided tight security to track down the fleeing suspects.
According to a source, before the arrival of security men to the scene, sympathizers, who were frightened, had already gathered at the spot but were scared to move close to the attacked vehicle, the interior of which was smashed with bullets.
Meanwhile, the police had evacuated the bodies of the deceased persons and deposited same at the mortuary for autopsy.
Spokesman of the Kano State Police Command Public Relations officer (PPRO), ASP Magaji Majiya, who confirmed the incident, disclosed that on arrival at the scene security operatives conveyed the deceased to the hospital, who have already given up.
According to the Majiya, one of the man's sons, who was in the vehicle at the time of the attack escaped unhurt, adding that investigation has begun to unravel the culprits behind the attack.
He therefore called on members of the public to assist the Police with useful information that would lead to the arrest of the fleeing gunmen.
It would be recalled that just last week, two gunmen, riding on a motorbike, shot and killed a Kano State lawmaker, a police officer and three others in Naibawa area.
Meanwhile, suspected gunmen yesterday attacked a divisional police station in Isa local government area of Sokoto State and carted away arms and ammunition a witness has said.
Isa town is about 150 kilometer from the State capital, Sokoto.
The gunmen, according to LEADERSHIP investigation, numbered about ten swamped the police station and opened fire sporadically before storming the armoury where they carted away with numerous arms and ammunition with ease.
However, from all indication they must be one of those armed bandits terrorism innocent people," the eyewitness recounted.
On the contrary, Sokoto State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Sha'aibu Gambo when contacted confirmed the attack saying his men were able to repel the attackers. He added that, his men at the scene equally recovered some unexploded bombs.
While assuring that his men are on their trail, the CP said no arrest has been made yet.
No official confirmation on the number of casualty at the time of filing this report, however, unconfirmed report has it that a police officer died in the attack.