FRESH BOMB BLAST ROCKS BORNO

By NBF News
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Residents of Maiduguri who had earlier thought normalcy was returning to the troubled Borno State were shocked in the early hours of yesterday when another explosion hit the metropolis.

The explosion which occurred at exactly 7.13a.m yesterday at Gomari Junction, along the Damaturu-Jos highway in the city caused a big stir as residents who had earlier come out for their daily activities scampered homes in fear. Many residents around the area also reportedly ran into different directions for safety.

'I was scared when I heard the explosion because, I had just passed the area.

I was at Borno Express terminus junction on my way to the shop. I was still waiting for the traffic warden to pass us when the bomb went off. I was confused whether to proceed or jump out of my car. Unfortunately, I just came to the town on Monday and I wanted to go and clean my shop since all my boys refused to return, but the early morning blast forced me to abandon my plan,' a businessman disclosed.

Spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt-Colonel Hassan Mohammed, who confirmed the incident to journalists said, the explosive which was believed to have been planted by the Boko Haram men exploded beside the pavement that divides the highway at Gomari Junction, adding that 'nobody died from the blast.'

Col Mohammed also explained that, the sporadic gunshots that followed the blast was as a result of the attempts by the Boko Haram men to engage the troops in a shootout. 'The Boko Haram men started shooting at our men who went to the scene as soon as the bomb went off and we had to return fire immediately. That was what caused the sporadic gunshots people were hearing in the morning,' he said.

He, however, denied that a cab driver was killed by soldiers when attempting to pass the area. He said he was not aware that a driver died in the exchange of gunshots, stressing that, the 'troops did not kill anybody.' Residents had accused the JTF of firing shots at bystanders and setting shops in the area ablaze.

Meanwhile, the police in Kaduna have uncovered an illegal training camp operated by an unregistered security outfit and arrested 57 persons allegedly undergoing counter-terrorism training at the camp.

The illegal camp said to be located in Dura Yadi village, Kwoi in Jaba Local Government Area of the state was alleged to be operated by an organisation known as Advanced Homeland Security and Mountaineering Agency.

Heavily armed anti-riot policemen raided the camp following intelligence report to the police.

Daily Sun gathered yesterday that youths between the ages of 25 and 30 were recruited from Kano, Kaduna and Anambra states by the organisation upon payment of unspecified amount of money.

It was also gathered that the head of the organisation and coordinator of the counter terrorism training, identified as Royal James was also arrested by the police, is currently helping the police in their investigation.

Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Ballah M. Nasarawa, said that the organisation was involved in an illegal activity, adding that the police raided the camp based on intelligence reports.

According to him, 'we arrested them because they are being trained as intelligence officer by a certain organisation, Advanced Homeland Security and Mountaineering Agency. A total of 57 persons were arrested. The organisation is illegal.

'We want to know whether they were cajoled or they went there voluntarily.  If our investigation shows that they are innocent, we will not hesitate to release them and if otherwise, they will be prosecuted accordingly' .

Daily Sun gathered from the Kaduna State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), even though the organisation applied for registration as a private security company, it was yet to be registered because it has not met the requirement for registration.

However, it was gathered that some of the arrested youths may have spent about N30,000 before being recruited into the organisation for the counter terrorism training.

Father of one of those arrested, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai, claimed that the organisation was introduced to him by one of his friends in Kano State and that he spent about N30,000 to enrol his 27 years old son, Abdulkarim for the training.

Meanwhile, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Club 25, has called on the federal and state governments to be more proactive in addressing security challenges posed by the sect.

The national president of the organization, Chief Austin Morah, who made the call in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State during the inauguration of the town's branch of Club 25 stated that the measure would help arrest the ever increasing security problem in parts of the country.

While expressing concern over the activities of the Islamic sect, Morah, however, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for deploying soldiers in Borno State, which he said has helped in reducing the tide of killings and wanton destructions.

He kicked against those calling for the withdrawal of soldiers from the state, observing that it was too early and dangerous to contemplate that at the moment.

He urged citizens of the country to pray fervently for the country so that God would take control and right the wrongs, which had become the lot of the nation.