SAFEGUARDS AGAINST BOMB ATTACKS (2)
At about 11 am on Monday, March 15 , 2010,a bomb went off at the Government House Annex, Warri venue of a post-amnesty summit. Another explosive went off a little later, killing and injuring several people and damaging property. Participants at the conference hurriedly left the venue.
Since the explosions went off, little or nothing has been heard from the Nigeria Police Force about concerning an investigation of the sinister attacks. One, there was a double bomb attack. Two, at least two Nigerians were killed in the blast. Three, more than 20 persons were injured. Four, there was substantial damage to property. Five, the explosions put a lot of fear in the minds of conference participants and other Nigerians. Six, the event again engraved Nigeria's name on the world terrorists map.
From the foregoing, there is enough corpus delicti (body of evidence) to prove that a heinous crime was committed. The next logical step would be that the bomb detective unit of the police should go to Warri to investigate the incident. The authors, motive and weapons used in the crime must be unearthed.
The statement by MEND's spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, that it carried out the bombings is not proof that MEND actually committed the crime. Proof of the crime can be got from the crime scene. The bombsite at Government House, Warri holds all the clues to the bombing and these must be obtained in order to ascertain the brains behind the crime, the weapon they used and other physical evidence that will aid the arrest, prosecution and punishment of the murderer(s).
Anatomy of the bomb: The police anti-bomb unit is supposed to give Nigerians forensic details of the explosives deployed in the Warri attack.
Type of explosive: Did the bombers use a high explosive such as dynamite, nitroglycerine or semtex, or did they use low explosives such as gun powder, fertilizer or petrol?
Type of destruction: Did the bomb produce a lot of destruction with a crater (hole) at its seat? This information will help us to determine the type of device used.
Estimated weight: Do investigators know the approximate weight of the device employed? How many kilogrammes of semtex (C4) or dynamite were employed?
Activation: How was the device activated? Was it a timer? What type of circuitry? Was it straight or collapsible? Was it a remote controlled activation? A number of VIPs were at the venue with aides who held walkie-talkies. These handheld gadgets often set off bomb devices. When there is a bomb alert, the use of radios is forbidden.
Power source: Did the bombs get power from the car batteries or were they fitted with power cells (batteries). Bombs must have power in order to be activated.
Explosive train: Did the secondary bomb have an explosive train which gave it stronger fragmentation or brisance? An explosive train refers to the use of a primary charge to detonate a secondary charge. This gives us the mind set of the bomber. The fires that were seen on television footages of the explosive may have resulted from explosion of the fuel tank of the burning cars or from a secondary explosion of incendiary nature.
Tips to solve the problem of bomb attack
Search by E.O.D: If they haven't already done so, the EOD men should conduct a diligent search of he bomb scene and collect all items that can be gathered as evidence. Parts of the cars, bomb fragments, the piece of tape used in tying the dynamites together should be collected for processing.
Evidence marking: All collected evidence must be marked and photographed on scene prior to collection. This will enhance the probative value when the matter eventually goes to court.
Chain of custody: Evidence must be kept in lawful police custody at all times. Taking items of evidence home or to the beer parlour is unprofessional. Evidence custody rules must be observed even in bombing cases to avoid changes or accusations of tampering with evidence.
Hunt for witnesses: EOD detectives must find witnesses who were in the area on the day and time of the bomb attacks. What they heard, what they saw and what they felt are all important to the investigation. Citizens would see the criminals, but because there is no label of 'CRIMINAL' on their foreheads, they cannot identify them as such. However, a sharp bomb detective will help the witness remember the clothe, looks and any other important feature of the criminals.
CCTV: It was Government House that was bombed, so there should be video coverage of such a critical facility. EOD detectives should seize the video and review it to see when the cars were parted, who alighted from the cars? Direction of flight, etc. The video of the criminal should then be released for the public to assist in identifying him.
Conclusion: The EOD Unit of the Nigeria Police Force is central to solving the criminal bombing that took place on March 15. Government must show that it is serious in dealing with the problem of terrorism in the is country by strengthening a critical and elitist unit like the EOD with adequate fundsing, equipment and training.