Monday was yet another bloody day in Kano as over 60 passengers, drivers and visitors lost their lives to explosions at an inter-state luxury bus park in the city.
Hours before the blasts, an Islamic militant group, Boko Haram members laid siege to some schools in Maiduguri, Borno State, killing four teachers and injuring several others, including pupils.
The cause of the Kano explosions which President Goodluck Jonathan described as barbaric, was uncertain as of 8pm on Monday. While some eyewitnesses attributed it to improvised explosive devices planted in a luxury bus in the ever-busy park, others said it was carried out by three suicide bombers.They were however, in agreement that the explosions also left many injured and some buses destroyed in the park located in the Sabon Gari, an area mostly inhabited by non-indigenes.
Reuters correspondent at the scene said he counted over 30 bodies that were affected by the explosions which occurred around 4.30pm. But one of the eyewitness put the casualty figure at more than 60.
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Chairman of the Kano chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Tobias Idika, said records available to him showed that more than 60 persons died and five luxury buses burnt.
“This is the worst experience of the Igbo in Kano; we have lost over 60 souls, while five buses were burnt to ashes . These show that we have always been the target of the attacks.
“IEDs were kept inside a luxurious bus which was about to leave Kano for Lagos.
“People were flying like chickens here and you know there were so many people in the bus when the IEDs exploded.”
Another eyewitness claimed that the bombers that carried out the attack had arrived close to the park in a Volswagen Golf laden with explosives.
He said that as the 59-seater luxury bus was about to leave the park on New Road garage, the bombers threw the devices into it.
The bus was also said to be carrying about 49 other passengers on seats called attachments.
Policemen, operatives of the Joint Task Force and officials of the National Emergency Management Agency who raced to the scene cordoned off the area.
They were seen evacuating both the dead and injured victims to the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Mortuary and hospital and other facilities in the city.NEMA’s Public Relations Officer, Yushau Shuaib, said rescuers and security personnel were yet to determine the source of the explosions and the casualty figure.
“Rescuers and security personnel are still busy evacuating the wounded and taking the dead bodies to mortuaries; we have yet to determine the casualty figure,” he added in an SMS to one of our correspondents.
Some of the injured persons had their arms and limbs amputated due to the impact of the explosions.
Residents of the areas scampered for safety when they heard the blasts which led to the abrupt closure of businesses in many parts of the city.
Reacting, President Jonathan condemned the blasts, saying it would not stop his administration from fighting terrorists.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan said the incident would not deter the Federal Government from its determination to overcome those who did not mean well for the nation.
He added that the government would not be stampeded into abandoning what he described as its unrelenting war against terrorists.
The statement read, “President Jonathan reassures Nigerians and foreigners in the country that the Nigerian Government will continue to do all that is required to ensure the safety of lives and property,including continued collaboration with local and international partners and stakeholders to check the menace of terrorism.
“President Jonathan commiserated with the victims of the Kano explosions, their families and friends, and assured the Kano State government of the Federal Government’s continued support.”
In Maiduguri, virtually all the schools in the city were hastily shut as news of the killing of four teachers and wounding of pupils in the city spread.
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