Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kano death toll rises to 75

Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
Police authorities in Kano State and some security  sources  on Tuesday gave different figures as casualties of the Monday suicide bomb blasts at an inter-state commercial bus park in Sabon-Gari, Kano.
While  the security  sources, who were among those taking a tally of the  victims, said the death toll had risen from 30 to about 75, the Kano State Police Command gave a much lower number of 22.
The  blasts, which  injured scores of passengers, drivers, hawkers  and visitors,  also destroyed five Marco polo  luxury buses. A Marco polo  bus  belonging to Gobison Motors  had on board  over 70  passengers when it was attacked by the suicide bombers as it was about  departing the ever-busy park for Lagos.
One of the security sources, who did not give his name  because he was not permitted to do so,  told  our correspondent   that the death toll was high because the luxury buses were parked close  to one another since they were to move in convoy.
“The luxury buses always travel in convoy for security reasons and this was why the casualty figure was high. They  were  parked close to one another. Most passengers in the first bus which might have had at least 70 passengers, including those  that were given  seats called  ‘attachment’, died,” he said.
The officer explained that each of the buses had about 75 or more passengers.
“One of  the suicide bombers must have timed the attack because he drove into the park and attacked the first bus when the five buses were filled up and were about to drive out in convoy to Lagos and that was why he (bomber) achieved a heavy casualty rate,” he said.
But the Kano State Police Command  which put the casualty at  22,  said that 65  persons, mostly passengers  were injured.
The Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Musa Daura, told journalists  in Kano that the attack was executed by two suicide bombers, who rammed their vehicle against one of the luxury buses.
He said, “Two suicide bombers drove a blue Volkswagen  Golf  into the luxurious bus motor park along New Road, Sabon Gari. They attacked and hit a loaded bus belonging to Gobison Motors which was taking off to Lagos and sparked off a serious explosion,’’
He said this caused the bus to burst into flames which affected passengers, hawkers, traders and workers at the park.
Daura  confirmed that five buses were burnt during the incident, adding that, ‘‘fire- fighters  immediately raced to the scene and the flames were put under control after which  the whole area was cordoned off.’’
The police commissioner said those who survived the attack were currently receiving medical attention in hospitals in the city, while  many  corpses were  deposited in the morgue.
He urged  residents of the troubled city to  remain calm and go about their normal business, adding that security agencies were committed to the protection of lives and property.
Daura also confirmed the killing of a policewoman by suspected gunmen on Tuesday morning.
He said the victim, who was attached to Zone 1, Headquarters of the police, was  attacked while replacing the  flat tyre  of  her car.
Residents of new bus station in Sabon Gari on Monday night deserted the streets to avoid arrest by security personnel who took  over the motor park area and surrounding streets  shortly after the incident.
Findings showed that some of the residents even  left their homes after the  blasts which shook the  buildings  in the area to their foundations.
 Intercity drivers and commercial bus operators also left the park with their vehicles.
Meanwhile, the  Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, has  described  the blasts as “callous , unwarranted and  wicked.”
  Moro,  in a statement  by his Special Assistant on Media, George Udoh , said he was pained when he heard the news of the   killing  of innocent Nigerians  by  persons suspected to be   Boko Haram  members.
The  minister   “reiterated the need for prominent Nigerians,  student union , civil society  and  religious  groups as well as  traditional institutions  and   professional bodies to voice out their resentment against  the evil being perpetrated by members of  the  inglorious  sect on the  nation.
While condoling with the families of the blast victims, and the government and people of Kano State, the minister promised that the Federal Government would smoke out the  perpetrators  and expose  their  sponsors.
Also, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, warned that Ndigbo would be forced to defend themselves  from the  killings in various parts of the North.
 He added that  the Igbo had been pushed to the wall by the Boko Haram, adding that the people would have no option but to defend themselves.
Uwazuruike said, “The  killings and other senseless activities against  Ndigbo must not  continue .  I know that it was this type of massacre that brought about the first civil war in Nigeria; I am disappointed in our people, when they were being slaughtered, I brought out buses to bring them back home, but they  chose to remain  in the North.
“What I did was to safeguard their lives. But I want to advise  President Goodluck Jonathan that there is           a  limit to everything. Ndigbo can no longer continue to allow themselves to be senselessly killed in the North.   I must warn that Ndigbo are not cowards; they   will react if pushed to the wall.”

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