Kano — Gunmen yesterday attacked the convoy of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, near Murtala Mohammed Mosque at Hausawa quarters in Kano metropolis, killing his driver, orderly and a palace guard. But the respected traditional ruler escaped unhurt, said government officials.
The gunmen also killed an Interim Management Officer (IMO), Alhaji Salisu Abdullahi Kura, his driver and two other persons. The attack was launched few minutes past noon in the neighbourhood.
Two of the emir's sons, Ciroman Kano Alhaji Sanusi Ado Bayero and Turakin Kano Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, who were on the convoy, also sustained gunshot injuries in the hand and leg, respectively.
Also in the attack about 12 other persons, including senior palace guards, like Babban Zagin Sarkin Kano were admitted at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) and Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, with various degrees of injuries.
Yesterday's attack was carried out less than 24 hours before the one year anniversary of a coordinated bomb attacks by Boko Haram in Kano on January 20, 2012 which left over 180 persons dead. No group, however, had claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack.
The failed attempt on the life of the 83-year-old monarch is coming on the heels of preparations to celebrate his 50th anniversary on the throne as the 13th Emir of the Fulani dynasty, billed for October 13.
Alhaji Ado Bayero was crowned the Emir of Kano in 1963, following the demise of his uncle, Emir of Kano Muhammadu Inuwa.
Attempts had been made on the life of the monarch in the past, but yesterday's assault was the first in which armed men had targeted him and killed his personal aides.
In July last year, a suicide bomber attempted to kill the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Umar Garbai el-Kanemi, another key Islamic leader, outside his mosque after Friday prayers. The bomber and some security agents were killed in the attack.
Similarly, in August last year the Emir of Fika, Alhaji Mohammed Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa, escaped being killed by a suicide bomber some metres away from his palace after Friday prayers. The Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Saturday's attack on Bayero happened when the highly revered monarch was leaving the venue of a Qur'anic graduation ceremony in Hausawa shortly after 12pm.
Sunday Trust learnt that the convoy was filing out of the area, when it came under attack from over a dozen gunmen.
The assailants, who had been lurking around the area, reportedly rained bullets on the monarch's car as it drove along Kwanar Yandusa Street in the area, killing his driver Kabiru Shu'aibu, orderly Ado Bala and a personal guard Ahmadu Dogari. The glasses of the emir's vehicle were shattered in the attack.
Eyewitnesses said the attackers, who had laid ambush on the motorcade, fired several shots on the emir's vehicle, which demobilized it. It was also learnt that even after it was grounded to a halt, the gunmen continued to shoot at the occupants.
They were said to have left the scene after realising that the occupants had all slumped. But Sunday Trust was told by a palace official that the emir's orderly, who was killed in the attack, shielded the monarch from the bullets.
Witnesses said after the attackers were gone, the remains of the slain guard had to be removed before the monarch could come out of the car.
The attackers also riddled the Sports Utility Vehicle (SVU) conveying Bayero's son, Alhaji Nasiru, with bullets, injuring him in the leg.
However, Alhaji Abdullahi and his driver were shot dead as they tried to escape the attack, while a third person was killed nearby, residents said.
Sources close to him, said the IMO was driving ahead of the emir's car with the Chief Imam of Murtala Mohammed mosque, when the monarch came under attack, causing his driver to divert to a nearby Ribadu Road.
Just as they diverted, another group of gunmen sprayed their vehicle with bullets and killed the Imo and his driver. The Chief Imam, however, escaped unhurt.
Men of the Joint Task Force and police took over the scene of the attack. Hours later, men of the Kano State Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) were seen removing the emir's vehicle and that of his son from the area.
The attack had caused fears among residents of Kano State, forcing businesses to close down earlier than usual, just as people and vehicular movements reduced significantly.
Also, funeral prayers were conducted for two of the emir's staff that were killed by the gunmen.
Earlier, Kano State Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, led other members of the state executive council, including his deputy, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, commissioners and special advisers to the emir's palace to commiserate with the monarch over the incident.
Also at the palace was the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Gambo Sallau and other state lawmakers. Sunday Trust also learnt that Ganduje later led the delegation to Kura Local Government for the burial of the Alhaji Abdullahi.
Meanwhile, Governor Kwankwaso had described the attack as 'sad and condemnable,' according to a statement by his assistant on media, Jaafar Jaafar.
The statement said the governor made the remarks while addressing newsmen after paying a sympathy visit to "the Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero over attack on his convoy, which led to the death of three palace guards."
He expressed gratitude to God for the emir's escape, it said, adding, "Governor Kwankwaso described the incident as both unfortunate and condemnable."
"I've just met the emir in good condition and I sympathized with him over the loss of three of his staff. We discussed at length over the issue. We thank the Almighty Allah that the emir is unhurt," said the statement.
"While praying for the repose of the souls of the slain guards, the governor wished others who sustained various degrees of injuries during the attack quick recovery."
Also, while confirming the attack, spokesperson of the Joint Task Force in Kano (JTF), Captain Ikedichi Iweha, said the emir came out of the attack "hale and hearty," adding that investigations had already been launched.
"As I'm talking to you, operations and investigations are going on and there is progress. We will provide details as soon as we complete what we are doing," he said.