25 May 2014

Nigeria: Jos Bombing - Attacker Detonated Car When Asked to Re-Park, Says Witness

Photo: Steven Depolo/Flckr.com
Champions League fans targeted in Nigeria (file photo).

The man whose car exploded near a football viewing centre in Jos, Plateau State, killing at least three people Saturday night, detonated the vehicle after being asked to re-park, a witness has said.

One of those killed in the explosion was Bello Awal, the owner of the building that housed the viewing centre.

Mr. Awal had accosted the would-be suicide bomber and threatened to call the police if he failed to remove his car, his neighbour, Abubakar Mohammed, narrated.

On Sunday, rescue workers found the fourth body in the bombing, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has said.

The blast occurred days after over 100 people were killed in two car bombs at a market in the Plateau State capital.

The principal planning officer of NEMA, Mohammed Suleiman, who led the rescue team to the scene of the attack Sunday, said three people who sustained injuries in the attack were responding to treatment.

The viewing centre, at Bauchi Road in Jos North Local Government Area, has capacity for 2,000 people, Garba Ali, a brother of the owner, said.

About 1,700 viewers were present at the time of the attack, he said.

A neighbour, Mr. Mohammed, who witnessed the attack, said the owner of the building, Mr. Awal, had interacted with the bomber before he was killed.

Mr. Mohammed said the victim had accosted the suspected bomber and asked him to remove his car from where he parked.

When the attacker refused to re-park, Mr. Awal, sensing something sinister, instructed his family to leave the house.

"When the owner of the car was insisted he was not leaving, Alhaji Awal instructed his family to vacate the House, to the next compound. That was when I also went in to inform mine too," said Mr. Mohammed.

"Before I could came back, the car had exploded," he narrated.

He said another neighbour informed him that after Mr. Awal threatened to call in the police, the suspected bomber entered his car (an Honda Oddessy model), switched it on, before it exploded.

Mr. Awal's mutilated body was buried alongside two other victims, early Sunday in accordance with Islamic rites.

Another witness of the attack, Muhyideen Salisu, told PREMIUM TIMES the scene was "devastating.

"We all escaped by the whiskers," he said. "We were almost in a stampede, as everyone was struggling to exit due to the loud sound of the blast we heard, many were injured as a result of the struggle."

Reacting to the development, a member of the Plateau state House of Assembly who represents the area, Jos North, Ibrahim Hassan, who visited scene of the blast, challenged the government at all levels to wake up to her responsibility of adequately protecting lives and property.

"This is a war against Nigerians, as far as I'm concerned. Government must wakeup to it responsibility of protecting us, this should a collective fight, we should stop the blame game," he said.

The explosion also destroyed the building of the Red Cross Society of Nigeria.

There was tight security on Sunday in Jos, following the repeat blast Saturday night.

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