85 killed, Scores Injured in Two Bomb Explosions Targeted at Buhari, Bauchi
At least 85 persons were killed yesterday, and several others injured in two bomb blasts in Kaduna, targeted at former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi.
Both men, however, escaped unhurt, but their aides were among the many people injured in the attacks.
The first bomb attack took place on Isa Kaita Road, off Ali Akilu road around 12:30pm, yesterday, when the convoy of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi was returning home after he gave a Ramadan Tafsir sermon to thousands of Muslims of the Tijaniyya sect.
Witnesses said a man detonated an explosives vest close to Sheikh Dahiru’s car, killing at least 35 people including some of his aides. Many other people were injured, among them members of an Islamic aid group. The Police however put the number of deaths recorded at 25 people.
Bauchi had escaped a bomb attack about three weeks ago near his home in Eskolia quarters of Kaduna.
A witness, Abubakar Hussaini, said the attacker waited for Sheikh Dahiru’s car, which was surrounded by followers and aides, before detonating the suicide vest.
“The attacker was a young man who could possibly be between the ages of 20 and 30. He was wearing three-quarter length pair of trousers and stood by the road near some parked cars with his arms firmly on his chest,” Hussaini said.
“No one suspected that he was carrying any explosives but when the Sheikh’s vehicle approached his position, he struggled to go close to it which he was unable to do due the presence of aides and bodyguards around the Sheikh.
“The boy was pushed away by of the aides before he ignited his suicide vest. The Sheikh did not sustain any injury but his car was damaged and some of his aides were killed. About 35 people were said to have been killed in the attack.”
Kaduna State Police Commissioner Umar Shehu put the death toll at 25 with 14 other people injured, saying the attacker detonated the devise few meters away from Sheikh Dahiru’s car.
He said no one was arrested in connection with the incident.
Three vehicles were damaged by the explosion, including an Opel Vectra with registration number Kano KMC 929 AJ, a Ford bus with registration number Niger XA 339 KJA and another Opel with registration number Lagos HJ 375 AAA.
This was the second apparent attempt on the life of Sheikh Dahiru, who had survived a blast near his residence at Askolaiye in Kaduna about three weeks ago.
While the rescue operations were going on at the scene of the Alkali Road attack, another blast happened at about 2.30pm near the Kawo motor park targeting General Buhari. A Toyota Sienna bus overtook the escort vehicle behind Buhari’s jeep and exploded, killing over 50 people, according to witnesses and a Red Cross official.
According to eye witnesses, a man in a Sienna car had trailed the convoy of General Buhari from where it took off. An aide to Buhari, who asked not to be mentioned, told reporters that “the car overtook other cars and came very close to the SUV in which the general was. His security details tried to get in-between, then the Sienna car exploded.
“The security men’s car was destroyed, and the three men were severely injured. The general’s car was damaged badly, but because it was bullet-proof, he came out unhurt, and was transferred to another car and taken away,” he said.
The explosion led to the killing of not less than 50 persons, according to those who came to the scene shortly after it happened.
About 22 cars were burnt and several people injured.
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