*Death toll in Kano bombing rises to 168
*Boko Haram says more attacks coming
22 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Islamist militant fighters of claiming to be members of Boko Haram have commenced attacking several towns in Bauchi state including Bauchi township the state capital.
It was gathered that a police station in Tafawa Balewa local government area came under attack a few hours ago while a military checkpoint was attacked by gunmen at Marar Rabar, Liman Katagun.
When contacted, the police commissioner in Bauchi state confirmed that a bomb exploded near a railway line in Bauchi Township, but town residents noted that they heard three explosions near IBB Square and the Jahun area.
The police commissioner claimed that his men were able to push back the gunmen in Tafawa Balewa area.
Meanwhile, tension seem to be brewing in the town where another Islamic sect known as “JIBWIS” is having an annual conference. The sect founded by late Sheik Jafar Mahmud Adams has always been opposed to the doctrine of Boko Haram.
*Death toll in Kano bombing rises to 168
The reality of the high casuality of the Friday coordinated bombings in Kano dawned on the nation yesterday as reports and eye witnesses put the death toll at around 162.
The authorities had, on Friday, said seven people had been killed in the attacks, including a journalist with Lagos based Channels Television, Godwin Akogwu. Yesterday, hospitals and mortuaries were struggling to deal with the numbers of killed and injured still arriving.
A series of explosions ripped apart police buildings and other sites around the city, which is now under a 24-hour curfew.
The Boko Haram group said they carried out the attacks, which appear to be their bloodiest assault to date.
A disturbed President Goodluck Jonathan, who, on December 31, 2011, declared a state of emergency in parts of four northern states but did not include Kano, said those behind the acts of terrorism would be made to force the full wrath of the law.
Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State was shocked by the carnage. He said the state government would pick the medical bills of those injured.
Eyewitnesss said, yesterday, that bodies had been littering the streets and wagons had been deployed to collect them.
A reporter in Kano said he had counted 162 bodies in the mortuary of the city’s main hospital.
The atmosphere in the centre of Kano was one of extreme nervousness. Crowds gathered, then suddenly dispersed when they feared something might happen.
Soldiers were patrolling streets, backing up the police. At one of the main mortuaries, officials were struggling to cope with the number of bodies. Special roadblocks were set up, particularly around police stations that haven’t been attacked. Some reports suggest the attacks might have been carried out by suicide bombers – civilians who could easily hide a few grenades under their robes.
A hospital official told the AP news agency that 143 people had been killed. An unnamed Red Cross source told the AFP news agency that 121 bodies had been removed from the streets by yesterday afternoon.
“We have been receiving dead bodies since last night from relief agencies involved in the evacuation of bodies,” an official at the city’s main morgue said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to give out figures.
“At this moment, we have 162 bodies in the morgue, and this figure may change because bodies are still being brought,” he added.
Around 100 people, wailing, waited outside the morgue to collect their relatives’ remains. Residents also reported bodies in the streets, as officials from the Red Cross and the National Emergency Management Agency worked to pick up the corpses.
“Between my house and the police headquarters along this street, I have counted 16 dead bodies that litter the streets, six of them policemen,” Naziru Muhammad, who lives near state police headquarters, said yesterday morning by phone.
A police source on condition of anonymity said dozens were killed. “There are heavy casualties around the police headquarters,” the source said. “A lot of civilians have been shot by the attackers. It’s difficult to give a death toll, but the number of the dead runs into dozens.”
The attacks were said to involve at least two suicide bombers. At state police headquarters, a would-be suicide bomber sought to join a police commissioner’s convoy, the police source said, but jumped out of the car and tried to escape when officers opened fire.
The source said he was shot dead, but, according to a resident, the car rolled over and a huge explosion followed.
Boko Haram, which loosely translates from the local Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”, has been behind a string of attacks in recent years.
The group formed in 2002 and campaigned for Islamic law to be established across Nigeria, whose population is split between the largely Muslim north, and the south where Christianity and traditional beliefs predominate.
It first hit the headlines in 2009 when a spate of attacks by its followers on police and government buildings in the city of Maiduguri led to a crackdown in which hundreds died. More recently, the group has launched bomb attacks on churches, drive-by shootings on government targets and other attacks across northern Nigeria, killing scores and forcing many more to flee.
But the Kano attacks appear to be the group’s most deadly co-ordinated assault. The police said, in a statement, that four police stations around the city, the headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS), as well as passport and immigration offices had been targeted.
There was also a shoot-out at the headquarters of the state police in the city’s eastern district of Bompai, reports said.
A local man, Andrew Samuel, described the scene of one blast: “I was on the roadside and I just heard a ‘boom’. As I came back, I saw the building of the police headquarters crashing down and I ran for my life.”
Witnesses said the bomber, who attacked one of the police stations, pulled up outside the building on a motorbike, dismounted and ran inside holding a bag.
Some unconfirmed reports claimed suicide bombers carried out some of the attacks. A BBC reporter said he had seen one police station with its roof completely burnt off, though it was not clear whether this was caused directly by an explosion or by fire. Jonathan condoles with Channels TV, others
In the meantime, Jonathan has expressed his condolences to all victims, including the management and staff of Channels Television whose reporter was killed.
The president, who said he was greatly saddened by the incident, in a statement, yesterday, pledged to get to the root of the incident while assuring the management and staff of Channels Television and indeed all Nigerians, that those behind these acts of terrorism would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
He commended the media for living up to its constitutional and noble responsibility in these critical times and assured all journalists that “the Federal Government will continue to partner with the media in a robust and patriotic manner in the drive to build, institute and sustain the administration’s transformational values and programmes for our dear country and indeed Nigerians.”