Jos, the Plateau State capital, was Thursday evening thrown into confusion as a twin bomb explosion rocked the city centre, killing 16 persons and injuring 25 others.
THISDAY gathered that one of the explosions occurred in front of a Mr. Biggs outlet about 6:35p.m., while the second was just a few minutes later a stone thrown from the first.
The blasts in Jos came as the police in Kano yesterday diffused a high calibre bomb discovered at Dawanau International Foodstuffs Market concealed in a bag.
An eyewitness of the blasts Mr. Nuhu Adamu said: “It occurred close to the burnt central market where traders erected their stalls to sell their wares, usually in the evenings.”
He said he saw a vehicle conveying corpses and some injured persons to the hospital.
Immediately after the explosion, the area was cordoned off by security agents. No person or motorist was allowed to get close to the spot for the fear that another bomb may yet explode.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abuh Emmanuel, said the blast occurred near Mr. Biggs in the city, adding that “I am yet to be properly briefed by the Divisional Police Officer on the incident. I will get back to you.”
But the Media Officer of Special Task Force (STF) on Jos crisis, Ikedichi Iweha, said 16 persons were killed, while 25 others were injured.
He said his men had made frantic efforts in rescuing and conveying victims away from the scene and also doing mop up of the scene.
Also speaking, the North-central Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Abdulsalam Mohammed, noted that quite a number of people were dead.
He, however, couldn’t give casualty figure as rescue operations were still ongoing.
Condemning the blast, the Senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Senator Gyang Pwajok, said this was the handiwork of the enemies of the people.
He urged the security agencies to step up intelligence gathering and unmask the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Pwajok noted: “At a time when Plateau is on the march to greatness, it is only the enemies of the state that would conceive and perpetrate this kind of wickedness.”
He called on all patriotic and peace loving people of the state to remain vigilant and join hands with the security agencies in bringing the perpetrators to justice, saying the fight against terrorism must be collective. He sympathised with all the families of the victims and all those injured in the blast.
The Plateau State government had on many occasions warned traders to stop laying their wares around terminus area to guard against a situation where they would be exploited by unscrupulous persons. But once it is 4p.m., traders start trooping out to lay their wares in order to make brisk business before the end of the day.
Meanwhile, the Kano state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aderenle Shinaba, told journalists that the personnel of the bomb squad of the command had successfully detonated the bomb planted in the state, adding that the area was also cordoned off.
It was also gathered that a female suicide bomber was arrested in the city, while she was trying to seek medication for injuries she sustained during the Kwari market bomb attack.
She was said to be currently helping the security operatives with vital information on their suicide mission.
A source revealed that the arrested female suicide bomber, who is a teenager, was apprehauded in an area in the city where she went to seek medication. But officials of the undisclosed treatment area sensed a foul play and decided to invite the police.
It was gathered that the officials did not disclose to the girl their mission after telling her to relax that they would attend to her.
Men of the Kano State Police Ordinance Department arrived and arrested the girl along side a man that brought her in a tricycle, and discovered that she was wearing a jacket of primed improvise explosive device.
When asked about the arrest of the alleged female suicide bombe, the state police commissioner denied knowledge of the arrest.
Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect have killed 11 people in an attack on Gajiganna, a remote town in Borno State, razing houses and forcing residents to flee, a local official and a witness said. Gajiganna had previously been hit by the Islamist, extremists.
“We have lost 11 of our innocent people,” said Zarami Kolo, a senior local government official.
“The terrorists also injured several people and set on fire every single house in the village,” he said.
According to Business Standard, the raid began at sundown on Wednesday but details from the remote region, which has a poor mobile phone network, did not immediately emerge.
The militants “started shooting indiscriminately, forcing our people to scamper for safety”, Kolo said, adding: “The town is no more and our people are in distress.”
One of the fleeing residents, Ibrahim Habibu, said his brother was among the 11 people killed.
“I lost my brother and as I am talking to you, I don’t even know the whereabouts of my wife and two children.
“I made it to Maiduguri after trekking through the bush overnight,” Habibu added. “Many of our people are still wandering in the bush.”
Gajiganna has large markets that attract traders from across Borno State as well as from neighbouring Chad and Cameroun.
Boko Haram was accused of attacking a church in the town in 2012. The group’s five-year uprising is estimated to have killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes.
The Islamists are believed to control more than two dozen towns and cities in the North-east, mostly in Borno.