Thursday, 28 June 2012

24 die in Kano, Taraba, Yobe blasts as police, terrorists clash

Kaduna condemns circulation of fake video-clip on crisis

TERRIFIED residents of the Kano metropolis wore gloomy faces yesterday morning as they woke up to the devastation caused in the city by terrorists.

Armed men, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect, attacked five police stations with explosives with 17 persons feared killed. Three members of the group were allegedly arrested during the attacks on the police formations.

Two civilians and two suspected insurgents also died during the clashes and explosions in Yobe State.

The Kano Police Commissioner, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, told journalists yesterday that some extremists launched sporadic attacks with bombs and assault rifles on Dala Police Division, Jakara Police Barracks, Gwaron Dutse Police Division, Challawa 52 Squadron and other places.

The terrorists allegedly planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in some of the affected places.

He said at the Dala Police Station, the insurgents numbering over 30 attacked the facility but were repelled by the police, who killed 10 of them.

The attackers, he said, came in a Volkswagen Golf, a Toyota and a bus in which the sum of N100,000 was recovered.

Idris said at the Jakara outpost, which has been out of use since December 2011, three of the gunmen were killed while a Police Corporal, Saidu Umar, lost his life, adding that another officer, Sergeant Baba Williams was injured.

The commissioner said an attempt by the terrorists to invade the Gwauron Dutse Prison was foiled with no life lost or damage done to the building. He added that the police were able to take control in the Challawa 52 Squadron attack, but residents said the area was under severe bombardment with the entire place filled with smoke from the burning structure.

Another suspected attacker died in a private residence at Panshekara where his shattered body was found after an explosion occurred in the area, Idris said, adding that “we are investigating the matter with a view to finding the owners of the building to give us a link.”

As at yesterday morning, there were still sounds of explosions and gunfire in the metropolis amid intense check on motorists and security patrol of the streets.

Most residents preferred to stay indoors and lamented that the terrorists had made life unbearable for them while security agents continued to intimidate them.

In Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, gunmen attacked a police outpost in Sabon Pegi ward and killed two civilians as well as injured a woman and her child during gun exchange with the Joint Task Force (JTF).

Two of the suspects were killed by the JTF, while one was arrested in the 30-minute fierce gun battle that spread to the campus of the Federal Polytechnic in Damaturu.

The state Police Commissioner, Patrick Egbuniwe, yesterday said: “There were attacks on a police and military posts by suspected gunmen, where two civilians were killed in the Sabon Pegi ward and the Federal Polytechnic staff quarters.”

He said that in the 30-minute gun battle between men of the JTF and the police, stray bullets hit a woman and her child, injuring them in their limbs.

Egbuniwe said there were pockets of armed assailants still hiding in the communities in the metropolis, warning that the police and JTF would raid such hideouts, which pose serious threats to security of life and property.

He said the JTF did not record any casualty during the attacks.

Suspected terrorist also struck on Tuesday night in Taraba State killing three persons, including a policeman in Wukari Local Council.

The gunmen numbering over 30 also bombed three new generation banks, a police station and a branch of a brewery firm.

The affected structures, which were badly damaged, have been condoned by security personnel deployed from Jalingo, the state capital, in the council.

The gunmen, according to witnesses, stormed the town at 10.00 p.m. and operated till 4.00 a.m.

The state Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Maishanu, told The Guardian in Wukari that one of the three victims was “a policeman.”

He said “the police command wishes to inform the public that last night at about 21:30 hours, suspected gang of armed robbers numbering about 30 attacked some locations in Wukari town.”

The robbers ”attacked GT Bank, UBA, and Zenith Bank, the Divisional Police Headquarters and Area Command Office in Wukari almost simultaneously exploding large quantity of explosives on the targets.”

At the Wukari General Hospital, where the victims are receiving treatment, medical personnel stopped journalists from talking to them.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State government has read the riot act to trouble-makers in the state. It warned them to desist from actions capable of instigating violence, saying that security agents had been put on the alert to deal such persons.

The government’s action was prompted by video clips being circulated through phones apparently to instigate the residents against the state.

In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Reuben Buhari, the government said its attention had been drawn to a “one-minute video clandestinely being circulated within Kaduna State by some faceless people,” noting that “the content of the video, which shows grainy images of heap of dead bodies being handled by security forces is basically meant to deliberately tarnish the image of the state, truncate the peace-building process in place and pit the adherents of our two major religions against each other.”

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to mention that the scene in the video was not shot in Kaduna State as can be seen from the abundance of neem trees in the background and the accent of some of the people in the video is completely alien to people of Kaduna.”

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