• 30 others injured, vehicles destroyed
IT was presumed an unlikely victim of bombing. It was supposed to be a security hub that is immune to the recurrent violence outside it.
Yet suicide bombers Sunday penetrated the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji in Kaduna and attacked the St. Andrews Military Protestant Church.
The two suicide bombers who sneaked into the church detonated bombs that claimed their own lives and those of over 11 people.
The violence sparked confusion within the military formation and armed soldiers immediately condoned off the premises and barred those who were trying to gain entrance.
The authorities of the AFCSC confirmed that 11 people were killed in the twin suicide bombings on the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church in the barracks while 30 others were injured.
Public Relations Officer of the AFCSC, Col. Mohammed Dole, said in a telephone interview that 11 people were killed, including the church members and commercial motorcyclists who were around the church to pick passengers.
Military authorities also confirmed the development last night.
He did not, however, say how many of the dead were from the church and how many were motorcyclists. Dole said further that eight vehicles and about six motorcycles were destroyed. He said no student of the college was killed or injured.
He said those injured were taken to 44 Army Hospital, NAF Base Hospital in Kaduna and ABU Teaching Hospital, Shika, near Zaria.
According to sources, the incident occurred at about 12:15 p.m. when the church service was over and the congregation had dispersed, leaving only the elders of the church who were deliberating on next Sunday harvest celebration and other issues.
The first car was said to have exploded without any casualty and many people had gathered to see the wreckage of the car when the second
suicide bomber arrived and detonated his bomb.
An eyewitness within the command said: “Many people were killed, I am not in a position to say how many people are dead, but they are many. I saw many dead bodies. I think the people that died may be in the region of 40 or 50. I cannot say precisely. Even some of those who are injured, I am not very sure they will survive it.
“This is wickedness of the highest order. How can any human being plan this kind of wickedness? We are now feeling very insecure in the barracks. Our security system here has been very porous. When people come and they stopped them from entering, they will call their relations and the people they know and they will be allowed inside. This is a very serious embarrassment to us.”
All efforts to speak with Lt.-Col. Dole proved abortive as all his three telephone lines were switched off.
The Kaduna State police command also declined to comment on the incident, saying that only the army authorities could give details of
The Police Commissioner, Mr. Femi Adenaike, said on telephone that the police could not give details of what happened and directed the reporter to speak with the army authorities.
The Director Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Bola Koleoso, who confirmed the incident through a text message, said there were twin suicide bombings in the church few minutes after the Sunday service.
According to him, “There were twin suicide bombings today at the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church, Jaji Military Cantonment at 1205hrs and 1215hrs.
“A bus first ran into the church and exploded about five minutes after service while a Toyota Camry parked outside the church detonated 10 minutes later.
“Figures of casualties are not yet clear but the injured are receiving treatment at military hospitals both in Jaji and Kaduna.
“Investigation into the bombings has commenced and the area already cordoned off.”
Rescue agencies like the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), which rushed to Jaji to assist victims, were turned back by the military authorities.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of SEMA, Mallam Abubakar Zakari Adamu, told The Guardian on telephone that “NEMA and SEMA were turned back at the gate by the military authorities so we had to turn back.
“There is nothing we can do, we were turned back from the main entrance to Jaji barracks,” Adamu added.
Also reacting to the incident, the Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mallam Aminu Lawan, told The Guardian in a telephone interview that “something happened somewhere, you say in barracks. Is it police barracks? We are all security agents, in fact they are higher than us.
“If something happened in their own domain, if it is their own domain… are they not the ones that are supposed to talk? If it is within the civil society, then nobody would fault our pronouncements. But that which happened in a military formation is a different thing.”
Condemning the suicide bomb attacks, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) queried: “Must we continue to kill ourselves every
other worship day? What is it that these people actually want? This is a military environment. Is it to harass the soldiers, because they have been doing good job in Borno, that is why they went into the military formation? Do they want to provoke them so that it would resort to
The CAN PRO, Kaduna chapter, Mr. Sunday Oibe, said that “the Federal Government, in addition to what it’s doing, should muster up enough courage to confront the insurgents,” noting that “when former President Obasanjo said that these people should not be handled with kid gloves some gullible Nigerians were saying go for his head.
“And what Obasanjo said is what CAN has been saying over the years. These people don’t need mercy because they are merciless people, and they are from the pit of hell. They are not human beings. As far as we know and based on our relationship with Muslims no religion preaches violence,” he added.
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