How &Why Boko Haram Bombed Thisday/Sun Newspapers… Attack Repudiated
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Huhuonline.com can disclose that Thursday was a dark day for the Nigerian media, as a twin bomb were detonated simultaneously at Thisday Newspapers offices in Abuja and Kaduna.
A statement issued by Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director Public Relations, Department of State Services (DSS), gave a narrative of the bomb attack.
'On 26th April, 2012, about 1100 hours, a dark green coloured Isuzu Jeep wired with bombs, forced its way into the premises of Thisday Newspaper, at Jabi, Abuja and it detonated killing the suicide bomber.
'Meanwhile, two (2) persons and the suicide bomber are confirmed dead while five (5) persons were injured and are currently receiving treatment.
'Also, at 1100 hours, two (2) persons in a cream coloured Honda Accord (Academy) car with registration number AL 306 MKA, drive into SOJ Global Communications and Investment Limited Plaza which houses correspondents of The Sun, Thisday and Moments Newspapers, located at R9, Kontagora road, Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna.
'One of the assailants, Umaru Umaru MUSTAPHA, an indigene of Maiduguri, Borno State, alighted the car with a container of Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
'He was immediately challenged by two (2) gallant Nigerians following which he threw the bomb at them and it denoted killing them instantly. Subsequently, MUSTAPHA pulled out a pistol and fired several shots in the air in an attempt to escape.
'He was however caught and subdued by brave members of the public who refused to be intimidated and handed him over to security forces. Nine (9) persons were injured and are receiving treatment.
'The Service wishes to state that the new affront on the media should not deter patriotic reportage of issues that affect our collective interest as Nigerians.
'While the Service sympathies with families of victims and the deceased, we wish to applaud the rare gallantry and patriotism exhibited by well-meaning members of the public who risked their lives to save others. We therefore call on all good citizens to rise up to the challenge of bringing an end to the menace of terrorism in our dear country.
In a quick reaction to the media attacks, President Jonathan has rebutted the bombing of offices of two Nigerian new media, saying the act was 'ignoble, misguided, horrendous and wicked.'â€¨
'President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has condemned the bomb blasts which occurred earlier today at newspaper houses in Abuja and Kaduna.
'The President, who received the sad news in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire where he is attending an Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the situation in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, described the attack as 'ignoble, misguided, horrendous and wicked.
'President Jonathan reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government (FG) to continue to uphold the constitutional right to freedom of expression in general and of press freedom in particular, pledging that criminal elements bent on instilling fear in the minds of Nigerians and foreigners will not succeed.
'The President urged media practitioners not to be dissuaded from carrying out their fearless campaign for peace, justice and equity as democracy cannot flourish without press freedom.â€¨President Jonathan commiserated with the bereaved families and other innocent victims of the explosions, and also prayed that Almighty God will grant them succour in their moment of grief and the souls of the departed, peaceful repose.
'The President further assured all Nigerians that the Administration remains undeterred in its resolve to ensure the safety of lives and property at all times.'â€¨â€¨
In the same vein, Governors of the six South- South States of the country have condemned, in the strongest terms, the twin bomb attacks on Thisday Newspaper Offices in Abuja and Kaduna state.
In a joint statement made available to Huhuonline.com on the side-lines of the 2nd South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, the Governors described the attacks as barbaric and cowardly.
While wondering the motive of the attacks, which coincided with its ongoing regional summit where the newspaper's Publisher, Mr Nduka Obaigbena is playing a pivotal role, the Governors urged the security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the attacks are apprehended and made to answer for their heinous crime.
'We totally condemn the bomb attacks on the premises of the ThisDay Newspaper in Abuja and Kaduna state. It's barbaric, cowardly and condemnable.
'We call on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring the full weight of the law to bear on them.'
The Governors sympathized with the staff and management of the Newspaper, urging them not to be deterred by the incident.
They expressed regret that the attacks came at a time President Goodluck Jonathan is doing a lot to restore confidence in the Nigerian state through purposeful leadership.
They used the opportunity to reiterate their support to the President in his determination to tackle acts of terror and order forms of insecurity in the country.
The statement was signed by Governors Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State; Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State; Liyel Imoke of Cross River State; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State.
Meanwhile, Abul Qaqa, spokesperson the Boko Haram sect has claimed responsibility for the attack on THISDAY, adding that the sect was annoyed with the deliberate misinformation being peddled about it in the Nigerian and foreign media.
'We have repeatedly cautioned reporters and media houses to be professional and objective in their reports. This is a war between us and the Government of Nigeria; unfortunately the media have not been objective and fair in their report of the ongoing war, they chose to take side.
'Some reporters are aware that I am Abul Qaqa, they know my voice through our long interactions and they also know the role of Abu Darda who heads the enlightenment committee and sometimes facilitates interviews; yet they (media) go by the unsubstantiated view of government that Abul Qaqa is in custody and I am the new spokesman or number two.'
'Another issue was the recent kidnappings in the north; we were clear with our position as a group during a teleconference with reporters but we were shocked the next day when newspaper headlines added a lot of things which I never said during that interview.
'Another example is the recent video posted on YouTube by our Imam; I challenge every Nigerian to watch that video again. There is no place our imam either said he will crush President Jonathan or issued an ultimatum to the government in Nigeria; but nearly all papers carried very wrong and mischievous headlines.
'It is not only THISDAY that has been engaged in negative media campaign, fictional stories and constantly promoting fake stories by the JTF to give an impression that they are making headway against us yet there is no time the media investigated further as an objective and responsible bystander in this war.
'But the sins of THISDAY are more. They once insulted the Prophet Mohammed in 2001 and we have not forgotten. They recently said our Imam executed me which is false. Here I am speaking to you, I am alive and healthy.
'We have just started this new campaign against the media and we will not stop here, we will hit the media hard since they have refused to listen to our plea for them to be fair in their reportage.
'In the coming days we will give details and instances where the media have not been fair to us and why we are going to attack them as well.
'The media in Nigeria are not a problem to us if they will do their job professionally without taking sides.
'But each time we say something, it is either changed or downplayed. But when our enemy says something even without logical proof, it is blown out of proportion.
"We have repeated asked some reporters to retract some stories or even give us the right of reply but none of these requests were given to us."