Update: 82 Die As Suicide Bomber Hits Buhari’s Convoy

The unfortunate event, clearly an assassination attempt, came from a fast moving vehicle that made many attempts to overtake my security car, but was blocked by the escort vehicle.We reached the market area of Kawo where he took advantage of our slowing down and attempted to ram into my car. He instantly detonated the bomb, which destroyed all the three cars in our convoy. Unfortunately, when I came out of my vehicle, I saw bodies littered around… 

Twin bomb explosions in Kaduna, the headquarters of the old northern Nigeria killed scores of people yesterday.

Former Head of State General Muhamadu Buhari, whose convoy seemed to have been the target of the second explosion, escaped unhurt.

The Gen. who on Sunday warned President Goodluck Jonathan on the state of the nation, said it was an assassination attempt, a “clearly targeted bomb attack”.

The first explosion was on Alkali by Isa Kaita Road, where a suspected suicide bomber on a motorcycle, who is believed to be trailing a famous Islamic scholar, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, detonated the bomb.

Kaduna Police Commissioner Umar Shehu said 25 people died in the first blast but eyewitnesses said about 32 died.

About two hours later, another explosion rocked Kawo market, close to the popular Kawo flyover. The police chief said 14 people were killed, but a Red Cross official told Reuters that over 50 people died in that explosion.

Shehu said preliminary investigation revealed that the suspected suicide bomber might have targeted Sheikh Bauchi, who had just completed the annual grand finale of his Ramadan Tafsir (lecture) at the Murtala Square.

The bombers struck at about 12.45pm while large crowds of Sheikh Bauchi’s followers, were just departing the venue of the Tafsir.

The cleric was driving through the area in an open-roof vehicle, greeting well-wishers, when he was targeted.

Followers of the renowned cleric reacted angrily, throwing stones at the security forces and accusing them of failing to protect Nigerians. The security forces retaliated by firing tear gas.

The angry supporters of the Sheikh wept profusely when they saw the huge casualty of the explosion.

An eyewitness, who identified himself as Musa Aminu, said:  “The suicide bomber was on a bike and he was desperately trying to follow the convoy of Sheik Dahiru Bauchi when the security people diverted his path. In the process, he hit a parked car and the bomb exploded.”

Gen. Buhari escaped the second explosion by the whiskers.

Gen. Buhari, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was on his way out of Kaduna to his home town, Daura, Katsina State, when the bomb exploded.

The second explosion appeared to target his motorcade. Gunmen rammed a vehicle into his convoy and fired shots at it, according to the BBC report. Three of Gen. Buhari’s bodyguards were injured.

Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the General was brought out of his Prado SUV unhurt and taken away in another vehicle.

An SUV, one of those in the APC leader’s convoy, was completely burnt down at the scene of the explosion.

The police chief said the bomber targeted a prominent Nigerian whose name he did not mention, but said 14 people died and four others injured.

However, eyewitnesses insisted that the casualty from the Kawo explosion was far more than that of Alkali Road.

At the scene of the Kawo explosion, a man disguised as a woman was arrested by soldiers. The suspect was in possession of a bag containing many mobile phone handsets.

Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero condemned the explosions which he described as an act of “cowardice” by those bent on creating tension in the state.

He imposed a 24-hour curfew within the metropolis.

In a statement by his spokesman Ahmed Maiyaki, Yero said:

“Following the unfortunate situation, a twenty four (24) hours curfew has been imposed on Kaduna metropolis with immediate effect, to enable security agencies restore normalcy.

“Enemies of peace have visited us with their ungodly venom of wanton destruction of human lives.

“This blast, coming in the Holy Month of Ramadan, is a clear indication that those behind the act have no iota of fear of God as they have none for the sanctity of human life.

“The time has come for us to eschew all our differences and confront these brazen attacks as united people.

“Those behind these attacks have no regards for whatever diversity as their victims cut across all ethnic and religious divides. It is a responsibility on all of us to unite against this common enemy,” he said.

The governor commiserated with families of victims and directed security agencies to intensify surveillance while they pursue perpetrators of the attacks.

The apex Islamic body in Northern Nigeria, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), also condemned the explosions, saying Nigeria was becoming a theatre of bloodshed.

In a statement by its Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, the JNI said: “We are dazzled over the news of the twin blasts in Kaduna city, which claimed the lives of many innocent Muslims in a Tafseer closing session of Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, held at Murtala Muhammad Square, Kaduna and within a short while another blast was said to have rocked Kawo in Kaduna, Kaduna State.

“We, therefore, condemn in the strongest term these repeated acts of terror being unleashed on the Muslims, in this blessed month of Ramadan.

“JNI equally sympathises with all the affected victims and also consoles the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident. May Aljannatul Firdaus be the abode of all the deceased, Amin.

“As usual, JNI calls on all authorities concerned to be more committed to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians as no development can be achieved in a situation of fear, insecurity and chaos.

“All hands must be on deck to stop these perpetual massacres of lives and properties, as Nigeria is becoming a theatre of losts of blood for no just cause, which must be stopped.

“Muslims should utilise the remaining days of Ramadan to complain to Allah, The Most Merciful, through vigorous supplications for relief, succour and ease against the evil masterminds of the nagging insecurity bedeviling our country.

“May Allah, the All-Mighty, The Compeller, The Supreme, and The All-Knowing, bring an end to this nagging evil, disgrace the perpetrators and grant us lasting peace, security, prosperity and a promising future full of happiness and development, Amin,” the statement read.

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