Kaduna (WorldStage Newsonline)-- There was pandemonium in Kaduna on Thursday as bomb blast rocked a building housing The Sun, ThisDay and The Moment Newspapers in the Kontagora Road area of the state at about 11:40 am, killing three while several others were injured.
The development disrupted commercial activities in the state capital, forcing traders at the Shiek Abubakar Gumi Central Market and the electronic shop owners to close shops for fear of being vandalized.
While the state police command said only one person died in the blast, eye witnesses said those that died include a Taylor by name Isa, an okada rider and an unidentified man.
Those that sustained various degrees of injuries were taken to the Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital, the St.Gerard Hospital while those that were badly affected by the blast were referred to the Ahmadu Bello Hospital, Shika, Zaria.
An eye witness and North-west Bureau Chief with the Sun newspaper, Ismail Omipidan told newsmen that he was driving to the office when the whole thing started.
He said, “I was driving to the office, normally I come through Katsina Road Roundabout, through the back, but this very day I just decided that I should pack by the road side at the Ahmadu Bello Way because I was heading somewhere, in fact I was actually travelling out of town, so when I came into the office premises, I saw a young man being beaten, and I saw my circulation man calling me, I also saw my Landlord. The suspected bomber drove a Honda car into the premises according to the people I asked. The man even came out of the car and was shouting that a bomb will explode any moment, and they people held him and told him to go and remove the bomb.
“It was at this point I called the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Aminu Lawan, and immediately after I called him, I took 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 that 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, the bomber disappeared, the people started looking for him. After sometimes, some people went into the back doors, 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 ablaze the bomber’s vehicle.
“But before the vehicle was set ablaze, 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 cylinders, 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.”
Another eye witness, a 22 year old dry cleaner, Jemilu Abdullahi, said that at about 11:40, a young man in his 40s in a bomb-laden ash-coloured Honda (Academy brand) car with Kaduna plate number AL 306 MKA rammed into a building, the SOJ Global Communication and Investment Ltd, housing three national dailies, The Sun, This Day and The Moment Newspapers but was accosted by vigilant residents who tried to know his mission.
He said that people swooped on him while the suspect was simply shouting , bomb! bomb!! bomb!!! And the suspect threw the bomb on the main road killing instantly those around the area.
“ As fire fighter were battling the put of the fire, the second explosion went off at about 12:10 pm further scaring away security operatives, media men and other aid workers who are keeping vigil on the area.”
Another eye witness, Abdulgafar Alabelewe, a reporter with The Sun newspaper said: “As I went to the office, I saw a large crowd mostly youth, at the centre of the Ahmadu Bello Way beating a man suspected to be the suicide bomber. They forced him to go and open the car laden with the bomb, but in the process some people were hitting him with clubs and other dangerous weapons while others that were not close were throwing stones on him. It was in that process that the first bomb exploded.”
A THISDAY circulation clerk, Mr. Monday Emmanuel who was in the office at the time of the incident said, the bomber parked the car and started shouting saying 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,” he said.
“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.
“The prime suspect in the blast was however, apprehended and he is now receiving treatment at the police clinic in Kaduna.”
Confirming the incident the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Jingiri Abubakar commended the residents of the area for being vigilant in apprehending the suspected bomber.
According to the commissioner, the suspect is current receiving treatment at the command’s clinic while investigation is on-going.
He said that: “It is rather an unfortunate incident and we will want to first appreciate members of the public for their vigilance and for their prompt action. It is based on their vigilance and prompt action that really helped the situation and helped us get the principal suspect that is now with us receiving treatment at the Police clinic. Their action really helped to prevent devastation in this environment.
“So, I want to appreciate the members of the public and I want to call on them, to continue to be vigilant in order to help the situation. You can see that this is business centre and this is a point which is difficult for every agent to reach. But because members of the public are vigilant, we have been able to get a moderate situation. Some are injured and by our calculation, we have gotten only one that is late for now. But investigation is in progress.
“We have commenced interrogation and from what we have gotten so far, he is a stranger from another state. But I will not tell you the state. The situation is under control and you can see that we have pumped in a lot of security and the area has been cordoned off and you can see the fire service are busy working to put off the fire that is on. So, we thank God Almighty for His blessing and wisdom and also, appreciate the prompt attention of members of the press.
“I cannot precisely confirm to you that media houses are the prime target. What I can tell you is that for these dangerous elements, everybody is a target. The devastation is moderate. It is not as high as that of the Easter Sunday blast.”
A source said that the Police discovered 11 -wired cylinder in the charred car used by the bomber when it was being towed away.
The incident occurred barely three weeks after the Easter day bombing which claimed over 40 persons.