Kaduna metropolis was again thrown into panic and confusion on Sunday when a car suspected to be carrying explosives exploded along the busy Junction road/Sarduana Crescent close to the Ahmadu Bello Stadium killing not less than 40 people
Most of the victims were Okada riders as Christians in the state were attending church services in commemoration of the Easter Sunday.
The explosion left glass windows of houses within the vicinity shattered while bodies of victims blown into pieces littered the streets around the scene of the explosion.
The Nation gathered the suicide bomber in the car had attempted going to an area with about three or more churches located side by side, but was turned back by the church security who had mounted a road block at the junction.
The blast also destroyed property worth millions naira with majority of those affected being commercial motor cycle operators and black marketers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise referred to as petrol.
The Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Abubakar Zakari Adamu, told newsmen that about 36 people died in the explosion while 13 others are seriously injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals within the metropolis.
Adamu said “we took seven persons at Rakiya Memorial Hospital, out of which five have died while the remaining two have been transferred to 44 Army Reference Hospital where about 20 others have been taken. At the St Gerald Hospital, out of the 10 people taken there, five died while the remaining five are receiving treatment.
“At Barau Dikko Hospital, we have six dead bodies with six others injured; while about 20 people died on the spot. In all, we have about 36 dead bodies while 13 others are seriously injured.”
However, a Red Cross official who would not want his name in print said the agency collected five dead bodies from the scene and are treating about 15 others for serious injuries, adding that there was the possibility of more casualty since the security agents and other emergency workers also evacuated dead bodies from the scene.
Investigation revealed that about 60 buildings, including Fina White House Hotel and Marhaba Hotel, residential houses as well as the All Nations Christian Assembly located along Gwari Road behind Marhaba hotel were badly affected by the blast, while not less than six vehicles including a Honda CRV car were damaged.
The explosion, according to an eye witness account occurred at about 9.45 am when the lone suspected suicide bomber attempted to enter Gwari road where the All Nations Christian Assembly and the ECWA Good News Church are located but was refused entering.
The eye witness said that the suspected bomber was dressed in a T-shirt and short with a set of military uniform at the back seat of the car, adding that part of the problem was that some people were hawking fuel around the area, while the okada riders always park on the major road.
One of the survivors who claimed to have witnessed the explosion said “we were three inside the car when suddenly I heard a loud explosion in front of me and suddenly, I saw a billow of smoke and fire under my vehicles. I quickly opened my door and when I look I didn’t see my mechanic again. I am still shocked how I survived.”
Another survivor, Augustine Vincent and his cousin, Aaron Idiawaje who are currently receiving treatment at the St Gerard Catholic Hospital claimed they were on the motorcycle directly behind the bomber when the explosion occurred and attributed their miraculous escape to “the blood of Jesus”.
He noted that truly Jesus Christ resurrected and that was why they were saved. “We were on our way to Church-Christ Embassy by Station on Kachia road and God saw our heart and saved us.”
One of the guests of one of the hotel affected by the explosion told The Nation that when the blast occurred, the window of the hotel fell on his head, but said that no guest inside the hotel was affected, adding that the bomb explosion destroyed windows and doors of the hotel.
Another survivor who gave his name as Tunde said, “I was driving pass the scene of the incident along with two other occupants when suddenly I heard a loud sound that almost blocked my ear. When I looked in front of my car, I saw smoke all over the place while fire was coming out from under my car.
“The man at the back seat of my car who is my mechanic was nowhere to be found, even when I called his mobile phone, it was switched off, and so my fear is that he might have died as a result of the explosion. In fact I don’t know how to thank God for surviving this bomb blast,” he said.
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Posted on April 9th, 2012 - By Bossip Staff