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Police probe explosions in Bauchi, Borno, Zaria, Zuba

Army confirms 13 dead, 40 injured
TERRORISTS, who returned to the trenches with devastating bomb strikes in some northern states at the weekend, yesterday continued their offensive.

As Nigeria marked Democracy Day and the swearing-in of President Goodluck Jonathan and 26 state governors last weekend, the terrorists struck in Bauchi, Zaria in Kaduna State, Borno and Zuba on the outskirts of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Yesterday, they repeated their attacks in Maiduguri, Borno State, with military personnel as their targets.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which confirmed the Zuba incident yesterday, said two people died in the explosion that occurred in Zuba near the FCT on Sunday evening. It informed that 11 others were injured and admitted at the Gwagwalada General Hospital.

In the Bauchi twin blasts on Sunday, the Army said 13 people were killed while 40 were injured.

The NEMA spokesman, Yushau Shuaib, told The Guardian that the victims were taken to the hospital for proper treatment on the directive of the agency's director-general, Mohammed Sani-Sibi.

Barely 24 hours after Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State took the oath of office for a four-year term, a bomb explosion yesterday rocked Zaria, injuring two children near the Unguwan Juma community.

Before the explosion, there was confusion in the metropolis over rumours that a bomb was planted at a beer parlour in Sabon-Gari.

Although the police in Zaria have commenced investigation into the matter, they refused to comment on the incident.

Witnesses told journalists that at 6.00 a.m. yesterday, two kids on their way to fetch water sustained injuries from an explosion.

'Although no death was reported, those critically injured in the first blast were rushed to nearby hospitals where they are currently receiving treatment,' one of the witnesses said.

Zaria was calm thereafter as people were seen going about their normal activities but security was immediately beefed up in the city and environs to ensure law and order.

The deadly blasts in Bauchi, which residents claimed 11 people died on Sunday are being linked to the Boko Haram sect, which had concentrated its strikes in Maiduguri and some rural communities in the state.

Already, armed soldiers and police have been deployed to Zaria and Kaduna metropolis to comb the streets for explosive devices and protect the residents. Roadblocks have also been mounted in the major highways and motorists subjected to thorough searching.

The bomb blasts in Bauchi went off in a beer garden at a military barracks.

A Nigerian Army officer who participated in the rescue operations told Associated France Presse (AFP) that at least 20 people were killed and scores wounded, though there was no official confirmation.

'By my estimation because I was involved in the rescue operation, the number of people killed could not be less than 20. Scores of others were injured in the blasts which occurred at five-second intervals,' he said.

Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Abdulkadir Indabawa, said the attackers used 'locally-made devices.'

Indabawa said five were dead and some 20 people wounded, with no arrest made yet.

'There were lots of people since it's a Sunday evening,' he said.

The barracks commander told reporters that the three bombs went off at 'exactly 8.00 p.m. when people were relaxing.' He said two people were killed and seven wounded.

'All victims were civilians,' said Brig.-Gen. Agbo Robinson.

The Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Azubuke Ihejirika, has said 13 were killed and 40 others injured from the bomb explosions that rocked the 23 Artillery Brigade headquarters in Bauchi.

He said the act was an issue of terrorism and promised that the military would re-double their efforts, train and properly equip the personnel to track down the suspects.

Addressing officers and men of the Nigerian Army, he said: 'I have come to Bauchi because of the unfortunate incident of last Sunday in some sections of the mammy market, which was burnt by terrorists. I urged you to take your training seriously and do everything with maximum alertness to ensure that the terrorists are brought to book.'

Ihejirika said the victims were receiving treatment at the Army Hospital, Shadawanka Barracks and the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital while others have been treated and discharged.

According to him, no suspect has been arrested but intensive investigation was on to fish out the perpetrators of the explosions

He said the Nigerian Army was working to enhance the capacity of its officers and men 'to detect incidents like this terrorist and the explosives used in carrying the acts.'

Also addressing journalists, Maj.-Gen. Sunday Idoko, GOC 3 Division, said security should be everybody's concern. 'Security should be everybody's problem and not the police, the State Security Service (SSS) and the military alone,' he said.

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By: Kemi Taiwo