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.
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.”