Boko Haram terrorists have claimed responsibility for the multiple bombings that occurred in Kuje and Nyanya areas of Abuja, the Federal capital territory, FCT last Friday.
The terrorists claimed responsibility of the attacks on Twitter signed by Islamic State in West Africa Province, used by Boko Haram since its pledge of allegiance to the militants in Syria and Iraq in March.
It showed photographs of three men in combat fatigues, holding automatic weapons and in front of the group’s insignia, and claimed they had carried out “martyrdom operations”.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari had blamed Boko Haram, which has waged a six-year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria, for the Abuja attack.
The authenticity of the statement, which did not mention Boko Haram and was issued under the name Islamic State West Africa, could not be verified.
It named three suicide bombers who it said were behind the attacks, the statement said.
The Arabic message said the trio’s targets were police stations in Nyanya and Kuje, calling them “strongholds of the apostates (non-believers)”, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that in May, the leader of the Islamic State militant group that controls parts of Syria and Iraq accepted a pledge of allegiance from Boko Haram, according to its spokesman, but the extent of cooperation between the two groups is not known.
Islamic State, an ultra-hardline offshoot of al Qaeda, has declared a caliphate, a state governed in accordance with Islamic law, in captured territory in Iraq and Syria.
The militants have gained global notoriety for killing or kidnapping members of ethnic and religious minorities and posting videos of its members killing Arab and Western hostages.
The Kuje, and Nyanya bombings claimed no less than 18 persons and injured 41, when the bombers targeted the Kuje evening market, the police station in Kuje, and the Nyanya busy bus stop.
The first blast occurred in front of the police station, while the second occurred at the town’s main market, 15 minutes apart.
A third explosion was reported at Nyanya Bus Station thereafter. Nyanya was the scene of two bombings in 2014, leading to more than 90 dead.
Already, the police said “preliminary investigations revealed the bomb blasts were carried out by two suicide bombers, a male and a female”.
According to a statement by Force Spokesperson, Ag. ACP Olabisi Kolawole, “Preliminary investigations revealed the bomb blasts were carried out by two suicide bombers – a male and a female.
Meanwhile, survivors and witnesses have recounted their ordeal and offered first-hand experience of the bombings.
One Greg Arase, a resident of Nyanya, where there was bomb explosion last Friday revealed that he picked body parts of victims from his toilet after the blast.
Arase said he had gone to bed some minutes after 9pm that day when the twin blasts happened in the location.
He said his house, where he lives with his wife and their 7 day old baby, has a low fence, and when the blasts happened, the fence also collapsed due to vibration and the gravity of the sound from the explosives.
In his own words, “I went to bed after 9 pm and few minutes after that, I think 10.30 pm or so, that was when the bomb blast happened. You know, the thing blasted there (pointing to the scene). So, the pieces now blasted and scattered everywhere. I picked one from the zinc, another one from the toilet and I still cannot explain how they got in there. Most of the body parts I picked, I handed them over to the security operatives who put them in a box for investigation.
Meanwhile, as relatives and friends of the recent Abuja bomb blasts throng Kuje General Hospital, grieving over the death of their loved ones, some of the survivors have recounted their near-death experiences.
Aminu Usman, an orange seller who survived the blast and at the Kuje General Hospital recovering said, “I was selling my orange outside the market along the road when I felt thirsty. Unlike before where you see many of the pure water vendors moving up and down, I waited for almost an hour without any of them passing by. The thirst became so much that I had to cross the road to quench my thirst.”
According to Aminu, he left his goods in search of hawkers of sachet water across the road and before he could even finish drinking, he heard a blast which consumed three of his friends and relatives.
He continued: “Before I could finish drinking the water, I heard a booming blast and something like an object hit me at the back of my head. When I looked at where I dropped my goods, I saw three of my friends and relatives lying face down. I could not go close again because I was battling to recover from the shock. At this point, I could not hear anything. It was as if I had gone deaf. I had to rush to the hospital. I did not know that Allah loves me too much like this because if not because of the sachet water I would have died alongside my friends.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Abuja and Heads of security agencies in FCT yesterday held emergency security meeting to brainstorm on the way forward, regarding the last week multiple bomb attacks in Kuje/Nyanaya, suburb of Abuja allegedly by Boko Haram insurgents.
A statement released in Abuja yesterday by the Deputy Director/Chief Press Secretary, Muhammad Hazat Sule, noted that FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. Obinna Chukwu, took the decision to summon the emergency meeting to discuss on proactive measures to reduce any possibility of further security breach in the Federal Capital Territory.
Engr. Chukwu, after the meeting charged the security agencies to intensify surveillance in and around the 8,000 square kilometers of the FCT in order to nip such unfortunate incidents on the bud, thus urging residents to be security conscious, and report any suspicious person (s) or movement (s) to any nearby security agents.
The Permanent Secretary, directed the Area Council Chairmen to resuscitate and strengthen their security committees, while community leaders strive to know new comers into their community.
His words: “Such intensified surveillance all over the place would ensure that we are not taken unawares because the security of lives and property remains on the front burner for the government.”
He called for continued collaboration, sharing of information with a view to ensuring synergy amongst all the security outfits in the FCT.
Engr. Chukwu reminded members of the security committee of the need to share intelligence so as to nip on the bud any elements of crime or criminality, promising that the FCT Administration will always support the security agencies to ease their operation.
The emergency meeting was attended by all the Heads of military formation in the FCT; FCT Police Commissioner; Director, Department of State Security Services; FCT Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, representatives of Customs, Immigration and Prisons.
Others were the FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services, FCT Command of the NDLEA and FRSC, National Emergency Management Agency, FCT Emergency Management Department, Solicitor-General, FCT, Chairmen of Kuje Area Council & Abuja Municipal Area Council as well as other top officials of the FCT Administration.