An explosion which occurred at a densely populated commercial area called “Post-office” yesterday in Maiduguri by a suicide bomber’s vehicle has reportedly claimed 30 lives and injured not less than 50 others.
Several number of angry youths took to the street, blaming the explosion on a former governor of the state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff who they said was culpable in the incident. The youths made sure they attacked every vehicle with the ex-governor’s photo.
Eye witnesses say a pick-up vehicle loaded with firewood suddenly exploded right in front of a military post known as Sector-4 of the JTF that is adjacent the state High Court Complex. The massive explosion affected several other vehicles, killing passengers, passers-by and a roadside trader.
The state police commissioner, Lawan Tanko, said his men had counted 17 corpses as at 2pm, even as he said “we are still counting; I have instructed our officers to go round the UMTH and the State Specialist Hospital to confirm if there are other corpses we have not recorded”.
He confirmed that “the suicide bomber detonated a pickup van loaded with firewood in the middle of the road at about 1:30pm”.
Charred corpses and fragmented body parts littered both lanes of the road as fire-fighters and aid workers arrived at the scene some 30 minutes later.
Protesting youths were seen in the major streets of Maiduguri until about 5pm, screening vehicles with campaign posters of either the deputy governor or ex-governor Sheriff and smashing their windscreens and, in some cases, maiming the drivers and passengers who dared them.
“We are going see the end of Ali Sheriff and his accomplice, Zannah Mustapha, who had brought this calamity to us. They are behind this bomb explosion,” said a young man as he smashed a vehicle’s windscreen.
According to a statement issued by the spokesman of Governor Kashim Shettima, Malam Isa Umar Gusau, the governor “condemns in strong terms today’s bomb explosion in Maiduguri which came at a time return of peace is being celebrated by residents”.
The statement continued: “Governor Shettima described the incident as most cruel, evil and inhuman. He expresses his deep condolences to the families and friends of all affected victims and prays for the repose of those who lost their lives and the quick recovery of those who might have suffered injuries.
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