Kaduna:The battle with suicide bomber and the blast at Thisday office:Eye witness accounts

                                The Honda car with the explosives
A  car loaded with bombs which were targeted at media houses exploded  at about 11.30 am on Thursday along Kontagora road in the heart of Kaduna metropolis, killing about three people and leaving scores of others injured.

A eye witnesses said the suicide bomber drove a Honda Academy car with registration number Al 306 MKA into the SOJ plaza housing ThisDay, The Sun and The Moment  newspapers located at 9 Kontagora road in Kaduna metropolis, but when the car failed to explode, he jumped out shouting bomb, bomb, bomb.Other newspaper houses around the vicinity, but located a few metres away from the scene of the explosion include The Nation, Peoples Daily, Sunrise owned by Taraba state government, Daily Independent and the circulation office of Leadership newspaper.

Business premises within the area were immediately closed as police cordoned off the

area, but found it difficult moving into the building as angry youths besieged the place threatening to burn down the building which was the prime target of the attacker.

The youths came from all direction and took over the roads in large number and it took the army and police team a hectic time trying to control the crowd and later had to resort to firing into the air and flogging the youths before they could make way for the fire fighting vehicles to move into the building to put off the fire on car.

The angry youths who were  angry with the security men for not allowing  them to kill the suspected bomber were said to have set fire on the car while some of them started throwing stones into the building, breaking some of the glasses in the process.

The police had to resort to the use of teargas to disperse the surging crowd of youths who started confronting and challenging the security agents along Ahmadu Bello Way, forcing Journalists and other security personnel to disperse, while security agents made efforts to remove the vehicle from the premises. It was gathered  that 11 camp cylinders neatly wired together and connected to the steering of the Honda Academy car were found inside the vehicle when the Police came to remove it from the premises.

Eye witnesses said that when the vehicle ran into the building and failed to explode, people present who thought it was an accident came to help him out of the car and found three of the cylinders on the front seat of the car and promptly raised an alarm.

Those present immediately mobilized and forced him out of the vehicle, asking him to remove the bomb, while he was said to be saying in hausa that if he removes it, it will explode.

He was however forced to remove the bomb which was apparently meant to ignite the cylinders into exploding and apparently bring down the two story building thrown outside the building before it exploded, killing three people on the spot.

There were however two other minor explosions between 12.10 and 12.30 from the vehicle.

Ismail Omipidan, Bureau Chief of The Sun newspaper gave an account of the incident

which also affected his office saying “I was driving to the office. Normally, I come through Katsina Road  and enter the office through the back. But today, I just decided that I should pack my car along Ahmadu Bello Way because I was heading somewhere.

“I was actually travelling out of town. When I came to the office, I saw a young man being beaten, and I saw my circulation man calling me. I also saw my Landlord.

“ When I asked why they beating him, I was told that the suspected bomber drove a Honda car into the premises, came out of the car and was shouting that a bomb will explode any moment, and the people held him and told him to go and remove the bomb.

“It was at this point that I called the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Aminu Lawan, and immediately after I called him, I took a motorcycle to Magaji Garin police station. I told the police that people are beating a young man close to my office who is suspected to be a bomb carrier, and that they should go there on time so the people should not kill the man.

“So as I was coming with the police to the scene, the man was forced by the people to remove one of the bombs from the car, and as soon as he removed it, he threw it on the ground and it exploded immediately and three people died on the spot, in that process and the bomber disappeared. People started looking for him.

“After sometimes, some people went into the building through the back door and they were able to get him, and police came and took him away. When police took him away, some youths started stoning the office.

“I don’t know what their quarrel was, but I heard one of them saying that we refused to call the police on time. So out of anger, one of them decided to set car ablaze.

“But before the vehicle was set ablazed, we told the police that we are suspecting that there are more bombs in the vehicle, but the police did not go near the vehicle until when that young man went in and set the car ablaze.

“While the car was burning, we saw two gas cylinder, and by the time we moved away from there, one of the cylinders exploded. So it was one of the youth that set the car ablaze”.

A Circulation Clerk with ThisDay newspaper, Monday Emmanuel who was in the office at the time of the incident, said that the bomber parked the car, ran out and started shouting that the car will explode.

“It was around 11:00am when Shehu ran up to tell us that we should run. He said there is bomb within the premises and we should run. At first we thought he was joking, but we noticed that he was dead serious.  So we ran for our dear life. We left the premises before the bomb finally exploded.

“The bomber was pursued by people around the neighbourhood, he was caught and he was being beaten seriously. Everybody along the street was gripped by fear and confusion”.

Another eye witness, 22 year old Jamil Abubakar said suspected bomber drove dangerously into the premises because the gate is always open and crashed into the wall and started shouting that the bomb will explode.

Jamil who said he is a washerman said “a man drove a Honda car very dangerously into the office complex. I was coming from the other end and saw it. He crashed into the wall. He came out of the car and started chanting, “laila ilalahu…”

“He started shouting, ‘bomb! Bomb! Bomb! People ran at him and grabbed him. They started beating him. They said he had to show them the bomb. He was well beaten. He was taken to the car. He opened the bonnet of the car and quickly took what looked like a bomb to me.

“It looked like it was manufactured. I was a bit far. But I saw when he flung the bomb over the gate of the complex and it fell on some of the people waiting outside to see what was happening. It exploded with a loud bang and I ran away.

“Fire started because some cars and motor bike caught fire. I came back and saw three corpses. I counted them they were three. But there were some people that were injured. Some of them were badly hurt.

“In the commotion that ensued. The man that came with the car, escaped and hid in some part of the complex. But angry youth combed the place and found him.They again beat him very severely. I am surprise he did not die. The Army and Police later arrived and rescued him.

“The Youth, still burning with anger, poured petrol on the car and burnt it. The fire you are seeing from the car, is not caused by the explosion. It was people that set fire to the car”.


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