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Suicide Bombers Attack Jonathan’s Rally In Gombe

Suicide Bombers Attack Jonathan’s Rally In Gombe

President Goodluck Jonathan escaped death on Monday, a female suicide bomber struck 200 metres away from the Fantami Township Stadium, Gombe, barely three minutes after he addressed a campaign rally ahead of the February 14 election.

The State Police Command, rescuers and medical sources were quoted as saying a female suicide bomber and a bye-stander died when the explosives were detonated.

PDP presidential rally

Fwaje Atajiri of the Gombe Police Command said six people had minor injuries, while rescuers and medical sources reported 18 people injured in the blast and were being treated at a hospital.

He said President Jonathan was not the target of the attack as speculated in the social media, since he left an hour earlier and was already out of the city when the blast occurred.

He also said the bombing occurred around the Water Board area of the town, far from venue of the rally.

Atajiri told Premium Times on telephone, that “female suicide bomber and a passerby were the only casualties, while six persons were injured but not seriouly.

“The president was long gone before the blast and if not for media, he would not (have known of the blast) so he could not have been the target.

“The suicide bomber was heading to her target when the bomb she was carrying went off in an empty place prematurely because of the high level of security put in place,” the police spokesperson said.

But Mohammed Bolari, a Gombe resident, who was at the rally told, AFP news agency that the explosion occurred at 3.10 p.m. some three minutes after the president’s departure.

“The president had just passed the parking lot and we were trailing behind his convoy when the explosion happened… just 100 metres from the bus we were driving in,” he added.

Bolari said it was “difficult to say how many people were affected because of the confused struggle by the huge crowd leaving the venue to escape for fear of another blast.”

“We have evacuated two bodies of females whom we believe were suicide bombers behind the blast,” one rescue worker told AFP after the explosion.

“One of them was blown to pieces… Eighteen people were injured in the blast and have been taken to hospital,” said the worker, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“Two bodies have been brought to the hospital along with 18 people wounded victims in the stadium explosion,” the hospital source told AFP.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is highly probable that it is the handiwork of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

In another development, barely 72 hours after the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Rivers State branch, called off its eight months old strike, several explosions rocked the premises of the Port Harcourt court and two others outside the state capital.

In the early hours of Monday no fewer than five explosions were heard around the court premises few metres away from the Rivers State Government House.

The state Police Command  confirmed  that in the early hours of Monday co-ordinated attacks were launched on court premises at Degema, Isiokpo and Port Harcourt with explosive devices suspected to be dynamite by unidentified and “unpatriotic assailants”.

The command said minimal damages were recorded in Port Harcourt and Isiokpo scenes without affecting the court building and documents while the one in Degema the court building was razed and documents burnt.

In a statement issued by the spokesman of the Command, Ahmad Mohammed, no life was lost in the three incidents.

“The areas are now under Police control while Police Bomb Disposal Unit has commenced discreet investigation in earnest,” the statement said.

The statement went further to say that it took the instant efforts of policemen particularly at Isiokpo and Port Harcourt to extinguish the fire resulting from the explosions and stop it from spreading beyond the point of impact.

“The state Commissioner of Police is deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless attacks on the temples of justice. We must realise that violence is never and will never be a solution to problems.

“The Command has already put in place efforts that will lead to the arrest of the actors and sponsors of the attacks while soliciting for the usual co-operation from members of the public to assist the police in this regard,” he said.

The command, however, reiterated its determination to provide adequate security to judicial workers and all courts in the state.

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