Bomb Blasts Kill 18, Injure 37 In Borno
• COAS Tasks Troops On Courage, Loyalty
BORNO State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aderemi Opadokun, yesterday confirmed the killing of 14 people in Gumsuri village on the outskirts of Maiduguri metropolis, after two suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers detonated their strapped Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at a mosque while the moslem faithful were conducting their Thursday prayers at 6.35pm.
Opadokun said 15 people who injured in the blasts were taken to the Maiduguri Specialist Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital by the rescue team of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) led by its Zonal Coordinator, Alhaji Mohammed Kanar.
In a text message to The Guardian in Maiduguri, Opadokun said: “Two suspected bombers detonated IEDs in and outside a mosque of the Maiduguri village of Molai. The mosque consequently collapsed, injuring many people praying inside. Casualties have been evacuated to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) and Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri.”
Investigations, according to him, were in progress and normalcy has been restored in the village with increased patrol of the Molai and Damboa road and environs.
Meanwhile, barely 12 hours after Thursday’s twin blasts, three suspected female Boko Haram suicide bombers also attacked Umarari village with “hidden strapped” IEDs, killing four people including two children in the early hours of yesterday. Umarari is farming community and 15 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to Umarari village head, Alhaji Bako Bulama, 22 people were also injured in the blasts and were evacuated to the Specialist Hospital Maiduguri yesterday morning by the rescue team of NEMA.
“We were shocked and terrified with these blasts that shattered the lives and property of my people in the early hours of Friday at 5.07am. You can see the bodies of four villagers, along with their two children killed by female suicide bombers last night. The vigilante youths however intervened by chasing one of the insurgents into the bush on bicycles and he was arrested this morning,” Bulama said.
He said one of the female suicide bombers detonated the explosives at the hut of a villager who was asleep before the early morning prayers.
However, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Yusuf Buratai has charged troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole fighting to defeat terrorists in the North East to be courageous in carrying out the offensive and remain loyal to the cause to keep the nation united.
Buratai gave the charge in his address to the troops as they prepared to launch another offensive on the insurgents in their remaining enclaves.
The COAS, who noted that the next few days would be crucial to Operation Lafiya Dole, said: “It is also crucial to our country Nigeria. Our sovereignty as a nation is threatened. The Nigerian Army and indeed the military as the symbol of our nationhood, is being challenged.
“Our ability to stand and defeat the Boko Haram terrorists in the next few weeks will determine the future of our country. We cannot afford to lose the fight. We are better trained and better equipped.
The whole nation is behind us. Mr President is with us. Let us remain steadfast in this noble cause. Be courageous. We must degrade and defeat the terrorists. This job must be done. We must make our country men and women proud.”
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima and Director General of NEMA, Mohammed Sani Sidi yesterday visited the scene of the blasts and family members of the victims.
They urged the villagers to always be conscious and vigilant of any suspicious movement of individuals and groups of people in their midst.
“Security and protection of your lives and property should not be left alone to the military and other security agencies in the state. All of you here from today should rise up to the challenges we are facing on this Boko Haram madness of destruction of many lives and property in Borno,” Shettima said.
A member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), Hamza Isa, also said: “The suspects burst into this village through the northern flank of Sambisa Forest to target Maiduguri markets and motor parks before they detonated the explosives in Umarari village about 5am. The motive of the suspects was to cause more havoc on people’s lives and property. But some of us were able to track down and arrest one Boko Haram suspect.”