- NEMA confirms 44 dead, 47 injured
- Bombers threw explosives at victims, say survivors
Details of the twin bomb blasts in a Mosque and a restaurant on Sunday night in Yantaya and Bauchi Road in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State emerged yesterday as the National Emergency Agency, NEMA, put the death toll at 44.
The agency further disclosed that 47 others were seriously injured in the attacks.
But when Nigerian Pilot visited the mortuary unit of the Plateau State Hospital, where the victims were rushed, scores of unclaimed bodies littered the morgue, indicating that the casualty level was higher that the figure given by NEMA.
This was corroborated by a member of the House of Representatives for Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, Hon. Suleman Kwande, when he disclosed that 52 members of the area who were killed in the blasts had been buried.
The odour oozing from the morgue was not pleasant. Consequently, residents who had thronged the hospital in search of their missing relations kept a safe distance from the morgue. Others covered their nostrils with handkerchiefs as they gazed at the corpses.
A medical personnel in the hospital said that the corpses were yet to be claimed because they were burnt or mutilated beyond recognition.
A survivor of the blast, Zachariah Ahmed said: “We were inside the mosque when we started hearing gunshots and in the process people started running outside. It was in the process that a bomb went off. I was lucky to have escaped.
“After the blast, we saw a lot of mutilated bodies of those killed in the blast all over the premises” Ahmed said.
He claimed that more than 40 corpses were seen at the scene of explosion.
Some residents in the area claimed that a renowned Islamic cleric, Yahaya Jengri, who was at the mosque at the time of the explosion, might have been the target.
Some witnesses of the incident at the mosque alleged that the suicide bombers threw explosives at residents, especially passersby, which led to the high death toll.
The Bauchi Road explosion occurred near a restaurant known as “Hajiya Talatu Mai Abinchi,” a popular spot where 13 people were killed and several others injured.
One of the witnesses, Mr. Godwin Okoko, said the attack was wicked and barbaric.
Okoko said: “This is sad and barbaric even at this holy period of Ramadan. I call for justice and effective community policing to end terrorism in all its forms, and this should be a collective responsibility.”
Residents said that the first blast occurred at 9:30pm around the Yantaya area while the second went off 10minutes later near the University of Jos Consultancy hostel.
NEMA confirmed that 44 people lost their lives and 47 others critically injured in the twin blasts.
While some of the dead have been buried, the injured are receiving treatment at the Plateau State Specialists’ Hospital, Our Lady of Apostle Hospital, Bingham University Teaching Hospital (Jankwano) and Sunnah Hospital, Angwan Rimi, all in Jos, the state capital.
In a chat with journalists at the premises of the Plateau State Hospital, Jos, the North-Central Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr. Mohammed Abdulsalami, said: “As at 3am, we had 44 people dead while 47 were injured and majority of them are in the intensive care unit of the Plateau Hospital.
“This was the first hospital we brought them but because of the casualty figure, the hospital facility was overstretched, so we took some of them to Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jankwano and Our Lady of Apostle Hospital,” he said.
He added the agency had made provision for some consumables for the treatment of the patients, adding that more would be provided based on the needs of the hospitals.
His words: “Normally, when situation like this occur, we know that there are emergency items that are required in the hospitals such as bandages that will first of all be applied to the victims to stop the blood flow. So, we were able to provide, why we are here now is to monitor the situation and to enquire from the hospital management what they require so that we can forward them to Abuja for them to be made available immediately.”
Abdulsalami commended the medical personnel for obeying the call by the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, on their members to assist in tending the injured.
But the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nasiru Oki, told journalists at the command headquarters in Jos that the first blast at Bauchi Road was carried out by two female suicide bombers who walked into the restaurant and detonated the bombs.
He said that the second blast at Izala Mosque, Yan-Taya was accompanied with coordinated shooting by the perpetrators.
Oki described the burning of two churches by irate youths after the incident as barbaric and appealed to the people to remain calm, saying security measures have been put in place by the police to ensure the safety of lives and property.
Speaking with Nigerian Pilot yesterday, Hon. Kwande expressed unhappiness over the attacks, describing it as sad. Kwande asked the Federal Government to do everything possible to nip in the bud the activities of terrorists in the country.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State government has described as unfortunate the bomb blasts at Bauchi Road and Dilimi-Yan Taya, as well as the sporadic gun shots within the Jos metropolis on Sunday.
Governor Simon Bako Lalong in a statement signed by his Director of Press Affairs Emmanuel Nanle, appealed to residents to remain calm in the midst of the attacks.
Lalong said: “It is regrettable that at a time when Moslem faithful are settled to the fulfilment of a religious obligation, agents of death, chaos and anarchy have chosen to disrupt the peace of the state by orchestrating a spate of sporadic bomb blasts to portray a state of dissatisfaction that pitches otherwise peaceful cohabitants against one another.”
The governor commiserated with all the victims of the heinous act and called on the people to stand in solidarity with one another in the face of the onslaught by agents of death on “our collective resolve to remain as one united people in spite of ethnic and religious differences.
“The government of the Plateau State is more than committed to consolidating on the peace process that has seen the peace loving people of Plateau living in peace and standing united against the force of terror which seeks to set the people against themselves and portray the imaginary existence of religious divide with deliberate attacks on religious faithful at times like this.
“Government will most certainly continue with her ongoing consultative peace dialogue with a view to fishing out agents of destabilisation and wade off the spate of systematic attacks which seem to show that the eminent end of insecurity is not at sight,” he said.
Spokesperson for the state police command, Mr. Abuh Emmanuel, confirmed the explosions, but declined to disclose the casualty figure.
A member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Istifanus Gyang, condemned the attack by terrorists on Da-lo Memorial College, Foron, where two students were killed.
The lawmaker who also condemned the twin-bomb attacks in Jos metropolis on Sunday night, said: “No words are strong enough to condemn the cruelty and brutality of these incessant attacks on his people which he always described as terrorism.”