Three eyewitnesses yesterday gave chilling accounts of how six gunmen murdered three Korean doctors in Potiskum, Yobe State. The hoodlums broke into their apartment in the early hours of the day and slit their throats, said the eyewitnesses.
This is coming barely two days after gunmen killed 10 polio vaccination workers in Kano. Nine of the slain vaccine providers were women. Some were killed in Kano, others at a health centre in Hotoro, outside the city.
The gunmen were said to have attacked the residence of three Korean and Egyptian doctors at the T-junction area of Potiskum LGA of the state in an operation that lasted about 40 minutes. They killed the doctors before escaping.
According to Mustapha, who told LEADERSHIP that he was peeping through a window when the attackers stormed the apartment, the gunmen walked straight to the compound and broke the gate to the main entrance.
Mustapha said in a telephone interview: "I was peeping through the window when six armed men walked to the house of doctors in this area. Two of the gunmen took positions at the gate, while four entered the house. Ten minutes later, I started hearing cries and yelling, probably from the gunmen giving orders to their colleagues. But I cannot tell you whether all the three doctors were killed or not, because I did not hear the sounds of any gunshot fired by the suspects that night."
Another eyewitness, Isa Yakubu, said the gunmen overpowered the doctors, tied their hands to their backs and slit their throats. He added that the wives of the doctors were looking for help when the gunmen escaped but could not find any help.
Yakubu, who said that the attacks and killings lasted about 40 minutes, added that the gunmen left the dismembered head of one of the doctors on the apartment's gate.
Another eyewitness who sought anonymity said the remains of the doctors were deposited in the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State, because the morgue facility in Potiskum General Hospital was ill-equipped.
Confirming the incident yesterday, the commissioner of police, Yobe State Command, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, said the three doctors were killed in the early hours of yesterday. He said the three men and a woman were posted to the Potiskum General Hospital.
Rufai said it was however too early to know who was behind the attack. "Police have begun an investigation. The victims were reportedly found inside their flat on Sunday morning, after people became worried that they were not answering the door," he said. "Unfortunately, when they were posted and assumed duties as expatriates, the police were not notified to give them adequate security coverage. As I am talking to you now, I am in Potiskum. The three male health workers have been confirmed dead while we are still working to uncover the details."
"For now, we cannot say with certainty those behind it or what exactly happened," he said.
The Yobe State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) condemned the killing of the Korean health workers. This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Adamu Umar, the state chairman.
Meanwhile, the emir of Fika and chairman of Yobe State Traditional Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Muhammadu Ibn Mohammed Idrissa Abali, has called on the JTF and the police to deploy more troops to Potiskum, saying that the town has continued to be targets of armed insurgents.
The inspector-general of police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar has ordered commissioners of police to provide adequate security for all health workers in the northern states. Spokesman of the police Mr. Frank Mba, who made this disclosure in a statement, said: "Following recent attacks on health workers in parts of the country, IGP Mohammed Abubakar has ordered special security for all medical personnel (Nigerians and expatriates) involved in immunisation and other special medical tasks. To this end, command CPs and zonal AIGs, especially those covering the northern states, have been directed to devise customised and tailor-to-suit security strategies to ensure that no further attack on innocent health workers occurs."
On December 24, 2012, gunmen attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) at Piri village of Potiskum. They torched it as well as killed Pastor Yohana Sini and five other church members.
7 Bombers Heading To Nasarawa State Arrested In Kaduna Village
Seven suspected members of Boko Haram were yesterday apprehended by the men and officers of the Nigerian Army in the Kagoro area of Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
A competent security source told LEADERSHIP yesterday that the bombers were from Kano State and heading for Lafia, Nasarawa State, when they were caught in Kagoro.
The suspected Boko Haram members, who were travelling in an Opel Vectra saloon car marked AY-386-KTN and loaded with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), were apprehended by soldiers at a military checkpoint in Kagoro on Saturday night, after they had beaten many security checkpoints.
The source added that the IEDs carriers almost outwitted the soldiers. "But thank God, we have arrested them," he said. "They were seven inside the car, six males and one female."
A resident of the village, Anthony Kezi, also told LEADERSHIP: "We saw cooking gas cylinders, coils of wires and other devices used for producing bombs in the car when the people were arrested. The soldiers took them to Kafanchan divisional police headquarters. And it was there the police anti-bomb squad confirmed that the items were explosive devices."
Kezi said "the Boko Haram members were taken away from the police headquarters in Kafanchan at about 10am to a military base in Kaduna".
The assistant director, army public relations, 1 Division, Colonel Sani Usman, said the suspects had been arrested. "On Saturday evening, some suspected terrorists, including a woman, were intercepted at a military checkpoint in Kagoro. They were carrying weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when our men intercepted them," he stated.
Kano, Yobe Killings: Enough Of The Bloodbath - Mark
Meanwhile, Senate president David Mark has condemned the separate killings of heath workers in Kano and Yobe states by yet to be identified gunmen. He called for a stop to these "mindless" killings.
Mark said: "This is barbaric. This is sacrilege. It is unimaginable that those who were offering services to save lives were themselves murdered in cold blood. Something has gone wrong. This is inhuman."
In a statement issued yesterday by his chief press secretary, Paul Mumeh, Mark said the unprovoked attacks and unwarranted killings of the polio vaccinators could not be swept under the carpet. He said all right-thinking persons in the society must rise up to the challenge.
He charged security operatives to redouble their efforts not only to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime but to effectively secure life and property in the country.
"No matter the amount of anger in a man's mind, killing or taking the life of another cannot be a solution.
"There are enough channels or avenues in the country for seeking redress for any grievances rather than resort to violence.
"Security operatives must collaborate with each other in order to properly police the society and save our people from further destruction," Mark said.