5 December 2012

Nigeria: How Boko Haram Attack Left us 'Half-Dead', Victims Tell Court

Abuja — Two survivors of the bomb blast that rocked the office of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Suleja, Niger State, on the eve of the April 16, 2011, presidential election, Kayode Olatunji and Musa Audu, Tuesday, narrated before a Federal High Court in Abuja, how the assailants left them almost dead.

Olatunji, who is a 300 level student of University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, while testifying before the court yesterday, said he had gone to check his name on the list of ad-hoc staff engaged by the electoral body for the purpose of the presidential poll, when the explosion went off.

The victim, who recalled the incident with nostalgia, told the court that the impact of the blast left him with multiple fractures and nose, ear and eye injuries. He said he had to undergo flesh grafting to be able to stand on his two legs again.

He said the explosion went off at about 5 pm on that day, noting that, "I was stocked to find myself in the midst of dead bodies."

He said: "When I recovered minutes after the explosion, I saw myself enmeshed in the blood of a woman torn open by the blast. We were taken to the General Hospital Suleja and left there without treatment for hours before we were later evacuated to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital. Five Specialists attended to me during the ten months of my stay in the hospital but my situation has not fully been addressed.

"I could neither see well nor hear very well, just as I could not walk without the support of crutches."

Audu's evidence

Meanwhile, in his own evidence, Audu, a teacher with Girls' Secondary School, Suleja, said he also went to check the INEC ad-hoc staff short-list when he heard a "big bang".

Audu said he became unconscious as a result of the explosion.

He said: "I discovered the flesh of my legs was cut open. I was lying with dead bodies, some of the bodies were dismembered and I began to cry for help. When help came, I managed to crawl from the lifeless bodies.

"The hospital carried out bone and flesh grafting on my left leg and I still cannot walk without support."

Incriminating evidence

Earlier, a computer forensic expert from the State Security Service, SSS, simply identified as Mr. Reuben, told the trial court that he had investigated a cell-phone confiscated from one of the suspects and found it to contain incriminating elements.

"In that cell-phone, pictures of how to make bombs, assault rifles, military uniforms and bombs were found," he added.

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