Monday, February 11, 2013

Three Korean doctors killed in Nigeria

Three eyewitnesses yesterday gave chilling accounts of how six gunmen murdered three Korean doctors in Potiskum, Yobe State. The hoodlums broke into their apartment in the early hours of the day and slit their throats, said the eyewitnesses.

This is coming barely two days after gunmen killed 10 polio vaccination workers in Kano. Nine of the slain vaccine providers were women. Some were killed in Kano, others at a health centre in Hotoro, outside the city.

The gunmen were said to have attacked the residence of three Korean and Egyptian doctors at the T-junction area of Potiskum LGA of the state in an operation that lasted about 40 minutes. They killed the doctors before escaping.

According to Mustapha, who told LEADERSHIP that he was peeping through a window when the attackers stormed the apartment, the gunmen walked straight to the compound and broke the gate to the main entrance.

Mustapha said in a telephone interview: "I was peeping through the window when six armed men walked to the house of doctors in this area. Two of the gunmen took positions at the gate, while four entered the house. Ten minutes later, I started hearing cries and yelling, probably from the gunmen giving orders to their colleagues. But I cannot tell you whether all the three doctors were killed or not, because I did not hear the sounds of any gunshot fired by the suspects that night."

Another eyewitness, Isa Yakubu, said the gunmen overpowered the doctors, tied their hands to their backs and slit their throats. He added that the wives of the doctors were looking for help when the gunmen escaped but could not find any help.

Yakubu, who said that the attacks and killings lasted about 40 minutes, added that the gunmen left the dismembered head of one of the doctors on the apartment's gate.

Another eyewitness who sought anonymity said the remains of the doctors were deposited in the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State, because the morgue facility in Potiskum General Hospital was ill-equipped.

Confirming the incident yesterday, the commissioner of police, Yobe State Command, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, said the three doctors were killed in the early hours of yesterday. He said the three men and a woman were posted to the Potiskum General Hospital.

Rufai said it was however too early to know who was behind the attack. "Police have begun an investigation. The victims were reportedly found inside their flat on Sunday morning, after people became worried that they were not answering the door," he said. "Unfortunately, when they were posted and assumed duties as expatriates, the police were not notified to give them adequate security coverage. As I am talking to you now, I am in Potiskum. The three male health workers have been confirmed dead while we are still working to uncover the details."

"For now, we cannot say with certainty those behind it or what exactly happened," he said.

The Yobe State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) condemned the killing of the Korean health workers. This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Adamu Umar, the state chairman.

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