Monday, 16 April 2012

Nigeria: Easter Sunday bombing in Kaduna kills scores of civilians

Nigeria remains very jittery following the Easter Sunday terrorism attack in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna on the morning of 8 April. It occurred near the Junction Road/ Sardauna Crescent commercial district which is a predominantly Christian area in the Muslim city. It is also frequented by large numbers of commercial motorcycle taxi operators.

The incident occurred close to the All Nations Christian Assembly (ANCA) Church which, in turn is also close to the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, and this prompted speculation that the real target had been the church. The lone suicide bomber, who was driving a grey Honda Academy car, apparently attempted to enter Gwari Road where the ANCA church and the ECWA Good News Church are located but was stopped. Under new security rules no entry is now allowed into the street when the church service was going on.

The numbers who were killed is in doubt because, although the police claimed that 11 had been killed and 16 injured, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported that 38 bodies were retrieved from the scene and many more had been taken to hospital. Meanwhile the Union of Commercial Motorcycle Taxis, which are popularly referred to locally as Okadas, stated that it lost close to one hundred members because the bomb scene was a popular pick-up and drop-off spot for the motorcycle taxis.

In another contradiction from eye-witness reports, however, the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar, said that two vehicles were used for the operation. Abubakar stated that “Situation report indicated that (on the) 8 April 2012 at about 8:45 hours, intelligence report received said two suspected vehicles heading towards Kakuri / Sabon Tasha axis exploded while in transit.

Abubakar further revealed that: “The two vehicles were pursued by Detective Corporal Francis Marcus and then, suddenly one of the vehicles hit the other, thereby causing a serious bomb explosion”.

A few days later there was a bomb scare in Kaduna when the security forces were called to investigate a large black bag which had been placed on the side of the road in Lagos Street. It turned out, however, that the bag was harmless and only contained refuse. Meanwhile last weekend in Kano a large drum containing explosives was successfully contained and detonated by security agencies.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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