Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Boko Harram attack foiled - Police seize bombs

Eight vehicles fully loaded with various improvised explosives have been impounded by the police in Kano State.

The vehicles were found to have been abandoned by their owners.

Another vehicle also loaded with explosives, was impounded along with the owner at Gwauron Dutse in the state capital.

THISDAY in Kano reliably gathered from security sources that the vehicles were said to have been abandoned by their owners since last Friday at various locations within Kano metropolis.

It was learnt that a Honda Civic car was found abandoned close to NNPC Mega Station in Hotoro adjacent to Kano deport with improvised explosives while the second car, a Kia, was discovered at Tula in the suburb of Kano by the eastern by pass.

It was also learnt that the vehicles were discovered and evacuated safely from the area by security agents with the help of residents of the area.

The third car which is a Honda car Brahma series packed with explosives was found abandoned on Sunday at Sheka quarters. It was with the cooperation of the residents of the area who reported the unusual presence of the car since Friday to security agencies who immediately removed the car from the area.

THISDAY also reliably informed by source who pleaded anonymity that the fourth car, a Toyota Camry, was intercepted Monday during security's wait and search at Goron Dutse quarters in Kano city.

When both the car and its driver were impounded, items found in the car were; bullet proof verse, a gun and some chemicals believed to be used in making improvised explosives.

THISDAY efforts to get the police to comment on the discoveries proved abortive as several phone calls made to the Kano police command's PPRO, ASP Magaji Musa Majiya could not go through.

But according to AFP, a senior police officer confirmed the frightening finds.

"We have discovered eight bomb-laden cars in different areas of the city," a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity Monday. "We are still facing serious security threats."

Another car was found filled with explosives outside a government-run fuel station in Kano on Sunday, as President Goodluck Jonathan paid a visit of solidarity to the city.

Meanwhile, special prayers were conducted in various mosques throughout Kano Monday to seek divine intervention in order to prevent recurrence of last Friday's bomb blasts that claimed several lives.

The prayer session conducted at Kano Central mosque was led by the Chief Imam of Kano, Professor Sani Zaharadeen, Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and all ulamas in the state.

"I will pray to God that we should never re-live the catastrophe that resulted in the deaths and maiming in our city," Kano State governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said.

Kano's emir Ado Bayero told the clerics: "I enjoin you to continue praying for peace and stability in our city. I call upon you to use any religious fora to pray for peace in our land."

A purported spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to a refusal by the authorities to release its members from custody.

Some detainees being held at a police station in Kano were thought to have been freed during Friday's attacks.

Boko Haram is a shadowy group believed to have a number of factions with differing aims, including some with political links and a hard-core Islamist cell.

Jonathan has said some Boko Haram members have infiltrated government -- from the security agencies to the legislature and the executive arm of government.

Senate president David Mark said he and the speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal, had ignored security risks to travel to Kano.

"We want to ensure that a few misguided Nigerians who have been led into this action don't take this country hostage... it is not about religion, this affects the entire nation," he said.

However, former president Olusegun Obasanjo sought to downplay the crisis.

"Even though it is a big challenge to the Nigerian people and its government, it is not one that... shakes Nigeria to its foundation," Obasanjo said in Banjul on Sunday.

Relief workers said the death toll from Friday's attacks was at least 166 but a doctor at a major hospital said the toll could soar to 250.

Around 50 people were gathered Monday outside the main hospital's morgue waiting to collect remains of their loved ones for burial.

Lying on a bed in a ward at the hospital with a bullet wound in his leg, tannery worker Monday Joseph, 29, said he was driving home from work with four colleagues when one of the bombs went off.

They abandoned the car and started running.

"The four of them died. I am the only one who survived," he told AFP.

Nigeria's supreme Muslim leader, the Sultan of Sokoto Sa'ad Abubakar, said the attacks were "perhaps the worst in terms of the loss of lives".

"It is evidently clear that Nigeria is passing through a trying moment of general insecurity of overwhelming magnitude," he said.

Most of the recent major attacks have occurred in the northeast of the country, with many taking place despite the state of emergency.

Boko Haram claimed a Christmas Day bombing at a church near the capital Abuja which killed at least 44 people and an August attack against UN headquarters in Abuja that killed 25.

Attacks targeting Christians have given rise to fears of a wider religious conflict in Nigeria, which is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

But attacks blamed on Boko Haram have included a wide range of targets, including Muslims.

This Day

Related stories: Video - 120 killed in bomb blasts in Kano, Nigeria

Video - Boko Haram leader declares war on Christians 

Video - Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram

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