A suicide bomber and gunmen have killed 36 people and injured several others in Yobe and Zamfara states.
In the Yobe incident, five worshippers and the suicide bomber were killed at the Redeemed Christian Church of God along Bauchi Road in Potiskum town during yesterday’s service while 30 residents were killed in attack by gunmen in Birnin-Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
The suicide bomber allegedly penetrated the church and blew up himself.
blastAn eyewitness told reporters that the bomb went off when the worshipers were observing the Sunday service.
The state police command confirmed the explosion through the Police Public Relations Officer, Toyin Gbadegesin, who said that among the dead was the suicide bomber.
Gbadegesin said: “A male suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the Redeemed Church at Jigawa area of Potiskum, killing five on the spot. A female member of the church who sustained injuries also died while receiving treatment at the hospital.”
He revealed that all the injured were receiving treatment at various health facilities in the area.
It was learnt that a bomber entered the uncompleted church at 9:55am in the Jigawa area on the outskirts of the town and detonated his explosives, killing the worshippers, including a woman and her two children as well as the pastor.
A police officer involved in the evacuation of the victims told Agence French Presse, AFP, that, “four worshippers died instantly while the fifth victim gave up shortly after she was taken to the hospital. The victims included a woman and her two children, the pastor and another worshipper,” the police officer said.
Another witness, Garba Manu, said the bomber arrived at the church on a motorised rickshaw disguised as a worshipper and detonated his explosives as soon as he entered the church.
Garba said: “I saw when the bomber alighted from a motorised rickshaw and entered the church and as soon as he did a loud explosion ripped through the church which is under construction. I saw him walked into the church and he didn’t raise any suspicion. Five worshippers, including three females and two males were in the church when the bomber entered and they were all killed. The dismembered body of the bomber was also recovered,” Manu said.
Only on June 15, Potiskum suffered a twin suicide attack, where 10 people were killed and several others were injured.
In the Zamfara killing, chairman of Birnin-Magaji council, Muhammad Gusami, broke the news yesterday that the attacks took place in Kokeya and Chigama villages in the area.
Gusami said the gunmen who invaded Kokeya village with motorcycles, killed two people, set houses ablaze and carried away animals, adding that the gunmen returned the next day and invaded the neighbouring village of Chigama.
He said: “The gunmen, however, killed more than 30 persons whose bodies were still being recovered from the bush.
The council boss disclosed that the incident had been reported to the divisional police officer of Birnin-Magaji as well as soldiers on surveillance of the zone, even as he noted that the Chigama attack took place shortly after three police trucks left the village when they noticed that peace had returned to the area.
He said the bandits also set several houses on fire on their second attack on Chigama village.
A witness, Ibrahim Sani, claimed that the gunmen attacked the villagers when they were returning from their prayers.
“The attackers shot sporadically in the air which prompted the people of Chigama to intervene. That may have provoked the gunmen to come back so as to punish Chigama people for trying to prevent the attack the previous day. While three persons were killed from Kokeya and Chigama on the first day in Kokeya, more than 50 were killed on the second day in Chigama while several houses were burnt”, Sani said.
Zamfara police public relations officer, Sanusi Amiru, who also confirmed the attack, said the police and army had moved to the area to restore peace and order there.
Boko Haram terrorists are keen to prove they are not a spent force despite a four-nation military offensive that has run them out of captured towns and villages since February this year.
The use of improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings has increased since President Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29 vowing to crush the rebellion. Since then, at least 654 people have lost their lives.