The casualty figure in Sunday’s bomb attack at the St. Andrews Military Protestant Church, at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, has risen from 11 to 17.
The Assistant Public Relations Officer, Infantry Corp and Centre, Jaji, Major E.M Akinyemi, said that two of those injured in the blasts died on their way to the hospital on Sunday while two others died on Monday.
Akinyemi added that two men who carried out the attacks on the prestigious facility, had also been confirmed dead.
He said, “As at today (Monday), the casualty figure in the attack is 15 people now. We are not hiding anything. Yesterday (Sunday), our Director of Public Relations, Brig.-Gen Bola Koleoso, released the exact number of people who died in the blast, that is, 11. That same yesterday (Sunday), two others died on their way to the hospital and two others died today (Monday). This makes the total figure to stand at 15.
“This is outside of the two people who carried out the attack.”
Mary Ibrahim, 36, a survivor of the Jaji military church attack, yesterday narrated how the two suicide bombers hit St. Andrew military protestant church on Sunday killing at least 11 persons and injuring over 30.
“It was just few minutes after the church service that we saw a car coming towards the church. That time, choir members (Mary inclusive) were having rehearsal. Soon after the man passed, we heard a very loud and terrifying sound, and things in the church started falling on us. About 30 of us where in there,” she said.
According to her, though the church service had ended when the bombs exploded, many church officials were still around, including the pastor and his wife.
She said: “There were ushers and choir members as well as some few church members around. The first blast happened near the chaplain office around the car park while the second one happened near the church gate. The bomb laden car was parked close to the gate.
“I saw many dead bodies and I think the casualty was higher from the bomb that exploded near the church gate. Nobody knows the exact number of people affected. Members of the Boys Brigade who were on guard at the gate had already gone home because the church service had ended,” the survivor added.
Mary who is an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to Igabi local government area of Kaduna State said she was taken to a private hospital when the MRS in Jaji was said to have been filled to capacity.
“I was moved from there down to St. Gerard hospital by my family on Sunday evening,” she said.
Investigation revealed that the attacks occurred on a day some politicians held a political rally in a satellite settlement near the military facility.
One of our correspondents gathered that there were suspicions in military circles that the bombers might have hidden under the cover of the political rally to carry out the attacks.
It was further learnt that the barracks do not have a complete perimeter fence, a situation that made it possible for the bombers to access the facility through another entrance.
Before Akinyemi spoke, the Commandant of the College, Air Vice-Marshal Ibrahim Abdulahi Kure, had told Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, that the death toll as at Monday was 15.
Kure explained to the governor who was on a sympathy visit to the college, that security had been beefed up not only in the institution but in the entire country to forestall a reoccurrence.
He also disclosed that his deputy , a senior Naval Officer, was among the worshipers in the church at the time of the attack, adding that the injured are still receiving medical attention at military hospitals in the state.
Yakowa, on his part, said that the attacks on the military formation were most disturbing and urged security agencies to tackle the security challenges in the country.
He said, “There can not be development without peace and the need for peace should be the greatest project for us all now.”
The governor assured that the state government would pay the bills of those receiving treatment at the various hospitals in the state.