She Dared us to Shoot; Policemen Narates Encounter with Kano Female Suicide Bomber
The details behind the multiple bomb attacks last week by some teenage suicide bombers whose targets ranged from the Northwest University, an NNPC Mega filling station, a church and some other targets have began to unfold.
The first female suicide bombing incident in Kano last week was recorded close to the Eid prayer ground near North-West University in Kofar-Nasarawa where some policemen were stationed.
According to the policemen who were stationed at the venue in order to monitor the activities in the environment, a teenage girl, clad in a brown hijab, walked confidently and hurriedly towards them on the faithful day.
Apparently unsuspecting that danger was approaching them, the policemen handled her presence with levity. When she got too close for comfort, the policemen queried her. But rather than stop, she kept moving towards them. Speaking to Sunday Trust on their encounter with the young lady, who later became a suicide bomber, one of the policemen said when the girl refused to stop, they activated their guns.
“At first, we thought she wanted to come and give us a report about a security breach around the place, but when she moved quickly towards us, we all activated our guns. Yet, she didn’t stop,” the policeman said. “When we asked her to stop, she refused. She rather told us in Hausa that if we wanted to kill her we should.”
The policeman said it was while the conversation was going on that a loud bang tore through the air, such that they all had to dive to take cover.
“We took cover, but we all sustained injuries. We went down flat because we were afraid that her colleagues may be nearby,” he said.
Contrary to an earlier report that the female suicide bombers activated bombs from their armpit, the policeman told our reporter that the teenager’s two hands were by her sides when the explosion occurred.
The policeman described the girl as slim, tall and fair in complexion and that her spoken Hausa was good.
“The way she spoke to us in Hausa, that we should kill her if we wanted, showed that she had a good grasp of the language,” he said.
The encounter between policemen and a teenage female suicide bomber was the first to hit the already traumatised city of Kano. The trend had started in Gombe when on June 8, 2014 the first female suicide bomber occurred. However in that case, it was a middle-aged woman who detonated an explosive wrapped round her body at the 301 Battalion of the Nigerian Army Base in Gombe. The explosion killed her and one soldier. The woman was walking towards the Quarter Guard of the 301 Artillery Regiment barracks, located along the busiest Gombe- Biu Road after alighting from a motorbike when two soldiers stopped her for a search. She suddenly hugged one soldier and the bomb went off, killing her and the soldier. The other soldiers with them sustained injuries, witnesses said.
Since last Sunday, no fewer than five explosions have been recorded in Kano in six days. All of them were carried out by female teenagers, believed to be between the ages of 14 and 16 years.
In all, 25 persons were killed and 60 others were injured, with civilians being the highest casualty. One soldier and a policeman were killed. The female bomber was believed to be 16 years old, according to analysis done on her remains by security.
As the police were struggling with their injured personnel, another explosion rocked the St. Charles Catholic Family Parish in Sabon Gari area of the state. It occurred at a when worshippers were coming out from the place of worship after the day’s service.
Five persons died on the spot, among them a soldier who was on duty at the church. Two others were injured.
While security said the explosive was tossed from a nearby primary school, the church’s officials said it was carried out by a female suicide bomber who pretended to be a worshipper.
While hosting officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), an assistant priest in the church, Father Val Fadegnon said, “A woman was seen attempting to enter the church while worshippers were coming out. She was holding a book like the Bible. The soldier at the gate was interrogating her when the bomb exploded, killing the soldier and four others on the spot,” he said.
The priest added that though a bomb was also tossed from the primary school opposite the church, it did not detonate as claimed by security officials. According to him, while worshippers were scampering for safety from the suicide bomber explosion, another bomb was tossed from a primary school opposite the church.
“We were lucky that the bomb did not detonate. It could have caused more harm than the first one. The bomber went to the school in a wheelchair, pretending to be a cripple and that was why he was allowed in by the security men at the gate. He went with one other person who was pushing the wheelchair,” he said.
The police confirmed that two female heads were picked at the scene of the blast. In all subsequent suicide bombings, the head of the perpetrators were seen at the scene of the explosion.
Last Monday, two other teen female suicide bombers struck in the state. The first one blew herself up at the NNPC mega station in Hotoro area of the state, around 10.00am, killing three others, including an attendant.
A security guard at the filling station said the female suicide bomber disguised as if she wanted to buy kerosene and that after joining the queue she detonated the explosive.
“She was carrying a gallon, like all other women at the filling station, as she was approaching the kerosene pump. She detonated the bomb from her dress. Nobody noticed her because almost all those on the queue were women,” he said.
Speaking on her hospital bed one of the victims, Hadiza Dauda, 45, said she was on queue approaching the pump when the bomb exploded.
“I wouldn’t know whether the bomber was the one in my front or at my back, because I was thrown to the other side of the filling station when the bomb was detonated. I just saw myself topless and I was shouting for help, but nobody came as they were all scampering for safety.
Almost all parts of my body were affected because I was close to the pump,” the widow said.
Around 1.15pm, another female suicide bomber blew up herself up at the gate of the Kano Trade Fair Complex behind Shoprite where hundreds of persons trooped to for the sallah celebration.
Our reporter learnt that the teenager wore a black hijab and was seen carrying a food flask. She detonated the bomb while she was being searched with a metal detector.
“When she was stopped at the gate, she told the security that she was taking her food inside the complex that she would eat during the programme. So she was allowed to pass the first security man, but when the man with the metal detector was searching her with the equipment, she struck,” he said. Although she died alone, she injured 13 persons and her remains littered the entrance of the complex.
One of the victims was a 14-year-old boy, Ahmed Usman, who hails from Kudan in Kaduna State. He said he was about to enter into the complex after paying the N200 gate fee when the person behind him detonated the explosive.
On Tuesday, there were no cases of explosion but the shock of the previous cases forced residents to stay indoors even as many megastores, including the Ado Bayero Mall, which housed the famous Shoprite, were closed. The following day, however, another teen female suicide bomber spoilt the show as she blew herself up where students of the Kano State Polytechnic were checking their NYSC postings. Hundreds of students who had completed their Higher National Diploma (HND) had converged to check their NYSC mobilisation list, which was pasted on that day. A security guard at the polytechnic told Sunday Trust that he had seen the teen suicide bomber before she struck.
“I was controlling traffic where the students were parking their cars when I saw a dark-skinned girl loitering around the area. She wore a black hijab, but my attention was taken off her when I was assigned to do something inside the school. It was shortly after I left that the explosion occurred. It was after the explosion that I discovered that the face of the suicide bomber was the same with the young girl I saw earlier. If not because I was reassigned, I would have asked her why she was there. She did not look like someone from this part of the country,” he said.
Two female suicide bombers were captured in Funtua, Katsina State as Kano was suffering from an overdose of suicide attacks.
Eye witnesses said the police had suspected a vehicle at a check point and decided to flag it down, but the driver rather drove dangerously away. However, the youths around the area helped in capturing the suspect. An eye witness said, “Not long after Isha’i prayers, a Honda CRV entered Tudun Wada on a high speed, which attracted the attention of people on the street. The driver abruptly parked the car and attempted to board a motorcycle, saying that policemen were after him.
One of the youths immediately called the police and before their arrival the man was seriously beaten, as he attempted to escape.”
The eyewitness further narrated that to douse the unrelenting effort of the youths to capture him, the suspect began to spray N1,000 notes, while attempting to escape with his accomplices, two teenage girl.
Another witness added when it was apparent that the man had collapsed, the two girls with him were also apprehended. They cried thus: “Umar Tafiya Za kayi Kabarmu,’’ meaning “Umar, are you leaving us.”
The witnesses added that one of the boys searched the girls’ bodies and found wires and other items suspected to be bomb switches. They explained that the equipment was disconnected and the car was searched. The young men found some detonating materials, suspected to be bombs in the vehicle. According to them, the police came to the scene and arrested the driver and the two girls, while a team of security men returned to detonate the bombs.
Source: Daily Trust with additional report by Abusidiqu
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