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Bauchi Bomb Of Controversies: CAN Alleges Extra-Judicial Killings …

| June 23, 2012 More

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Written by Saliu Gbadamosi, Bauchi


Saturday, 23 June 2012

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WHEN the suicide bomber who attacked the Living Faith Church, also known as the Winners’ Chapel, at Yelwa Tudu area of Bauchi some Sundays ago delivered his message of death, what followed were wailing and crying.

And like the vice chairman of the Bauchi State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Timothy Aneke, said, “Nigerians should not allow perpetrators of the dastardly act to divide us”, the bomber, at least, succeeded in putting a temporary divide between the authorities, especially security agencies, and some victims of the bomb blast.

The bomber, according to eyewitnesses, arrived at the Yelwa Tudu area of Bauchi to carry out the threat that was doing the round before that Sunday of possible attacks on some churches in the metropolis. He was said to have arrived the Winners’ Chapel premises at about 9:30a.m when the church had ended its first service of the day but was prevented from gaining access to the premises.

But not to be deterred from delivering the message of death and destruction he brought, he detonated the bomb he carried in the Honda Civic car he drove to the scene of the attack. The effect of the attack, destroyed part of Harvestfield Church of Christ, which is a neighbour to Winners’ Chapel, the prime target as well as vehicles of worshippers, apart from sending some to their graves.

When the dust raised by the bomb blast settled down, the state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) came out, not only to condemn the suicide attack but also to tell the world that men of the Nigerian Army killed eight innocent people through extra-judicial killing, while 20 others were wounded by gunshots fired by soldiers deployed in the area to maintain law and order.

According to the chairman of the association, Reverend Lawi Pokti, while addressing a press conference on the bomb attack, “20 people were confirmed dead out of which 12 died as a result of bomb blast, while eight were shot dead by the military men who went to the blast site to maintain law and order.”

But in a swift reaction, the Army Public Relations Officer, 33 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Bauchi, Major Mike Etete, told the Saturday Tribune in a telephone chart that no soldier shot at anybody at the scene of the bomb blast, declaring emphatically that, “we did not shoot anyone.”

According to Major Etete, “I can confirm to you that soldiers did not shoot anybody. It was obvious, once there was confusion, people were trying to go on reprisals whatever. Soldiers did not shoot at anybody but to scare away the crowd.

Also denying that victims with gunshot injuries were treated at the hospital, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, Dr Muhammed Alkali, stated that there was no victim admitted with gunshot wounds.

Despite the allegation and denial, after much spirited efforts, Saturday Tribune eventually met with some of the bomb blast victims in the wards of the ATBUTH and spoke with two of them who claimed they were shot by soldiers at the scene of the blast that dark Sunday.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kyauta Numa Haruna was cocksure that it was soldiers who shot him last Sunday, declaring that it was God who saved him from being killed when soldiers open fire on innocent crowd.

For Haruna, it was destined that what happened to him would happen as he was neither a member of Living Faith Church nor Harvestfield Church of Christ. In fact, he is a member of Church of Christ In Nigeria (COCIN).

“We were passing through. I did not know what was going on because soldiers started shooting at us. I ran and crawled on the ground. In the process of my crawling, that was when they shot me in three places on my legs,” he stated.

On his part, Christopher Samuel is disappointed by the denial of the soldiers’ dastardly shooting of innocent people, saying that, “it is unfair.”

The 20-year-old, who said he was a labourer with Triacta Construction Company working at the site of the Bauchi International Airport currently under construction, found himself at the scene of the incident.

According to him, “I attend ECWA Gospel Church at Rafin Zurfin. After closing from church that day at about 10a.m., I went to Yelwa in order to buy some clothes so that I would go to my work with it. Unfortunately, when I got there, I saw all shops locked. I just got there when soldiers started shooting. As they were shooting into the air, people started running for dear life.

“After shooting into the air, they started shooting people. I don’t know the reason for shooting. Unfortunately, I heard the government or whoever saying they did not shoot anybody, that was happened was bomb blast. This is unfair,” he said.

He wants government to take action to prevent a recurrence of such incidence in the future. His 42-year-old businessman, Samuel Jariyu, has resigned to fate, though he told Saturday Tribune that he was not happy with what happened to his son. To him, if the government can assist the victims through settling of all medical expenses, it would be okay but “if government cannot, let everybody take care of his child. God will help us.”

 

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Category: Bauchi State News

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