JTF defuses three bombs
A TIMELY intervention by the Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday prevented suspected Boko Haram gunmen from unleashing large-scale violence on the Baga Market, Maiduguri, Borno State.
But the Boko Haram suspects, who attacked the market around 1.00 p.m., had shot at three traders before officials of the JTF rushed to the market and repelled them.
After fighting off the Boko Haram gunmen, the JTF defused three bombs that were allegedly planted by the group in the market.
In a telephone interview with reporters in Maiduguri, the spokesman of JTF, Lt.-Col. Hassan Mohammed, said: “Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked the Baga Market this afternoon (yesterday), and shot three traders in the market. Our men rushed to the scene and engaged the gunmen in a shoot-out for about half an hour. But we were able to repel them with the killing of eight suspects at the market.”
He disclosed that the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were planted by the suspected bombers around the market and Zajeri Primary School, but the JTF defused three bombs.
He said the three traders shot by the suspects in the attacks did not die, but were rushed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) for the treatment of gunshot wounds.
Ibrahim Audu, a trader and an eyewitness, told The Guardian on phone that he saw three bodies on the ground, while the gunmen and JTF were exchanging fire and protecting the market and residents living near the market.
He said he heard the sounds of nine bomb blasts around the market and the primary school, before the military patrol vehicles of JTF reached the market at 1.15 p.m.
The Baga Market area and the Baga Road have been cordoned off by soldiers and policemen.
Besides, the Niger State police command yesterday gave N700,000 to the families of the three policemen who were killed by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram in various parts of the state last week.
A police corporal attached to the Maje Police Post in Suleja was shot by unknown gunmen and his rifle taken away while an inspector and a sergeant on duty at the Wushishi Housing Estate in Minna, the state capital, were also shot and killed and their guns taken away by unknown gunmen within last week.
Also, the Niger State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Maishanu, yesterday gave N200,000 each to the families of the three officers that were killed. The sum of N100,000 was given to an injured policeman who is still in the hospital recuperating.
The commissioner, who personally presented the cash donations to the divisional police officers of Suleja and Maitunbi for onward delivery to the bereaved families, said the money was a donation by the command to take care of some immediate needs.
He urged that the money be given to the families of the deceased, adding that “we know that no amount of money is enough to pay for their lives but we believe that this can take care of some immediate pressing demands.”
Commenting on the Suleja bomb blast on Sunday, Maishanu said after visiting the scene, it was discovered that the explosive was planted between two vehicles in front of the Grasa Guest Inn, which according to him, was a few metres away from the Christ Embassy Church.
According to him, the explosion damaged four vehicles parked at the scene and inflicted injuries on five persons, including two carrot hawkers and a small baby who sustained minor injuries, and two other passersby.
He disclosed that the chief medical director at the Suleja Hospital assured that three victims would be discharged while the other two would be referred to the Specialist Hospital, Gwagwalada, for further medical attention.
The commissioner of police said also that in a swift response to the ugly incident on Sunday, the police launched an investigation and five persons who were suspected to be the masterminds had been arrested.
According to him, “investigation is in progress while the case has been transferred to Zone 7, Abuja, for further investigations.”
Besides, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday announced a donation of N25 million to the victims of the last Christmas day bomb blast at the St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, in the Suleja Local Council of Niger State.
The CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who led the apex bank management to Madalla to make the donation, described the attacks as the work of evil men who did not want the citizens to live in peace.