16th January, 2015
A suicide bomber killed five people and wounded 11 Friday in northeastern Nigeria, an emergency services official told AFP.
“It was a suicide bombing,” said Saidu Ahmed Minin, head of operation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Gombe.
“Six people were killed including the bomber and 11 others were injured. We evacuated them to the hospital.”
Witnesses said the blast went off at 7:25 pm (1825 GMT) in the packed market neighbourhood of Kasuwar Arawa, close to the public university in Gombe, which is capital of Gombe state.
“The bomber went into the crowd of people waiting to recharge their telephones” at a public charging station “and then set off the explosive,” taxi driver Idris Babandada told AFP by telephone. “The explosion shook the whole neighbourhood.”
No one claimed immediate responsiblity for the attack, but Boko Haram militants are increasingly powerful in the north-east of Nigeria and Gombe has been hit by several suicide bombers recently, most of them at bus stations and near military installations.
An aid worker in Gombe said that the injured were being treated by aid volunteers and nurses, because doctors in the city were on strike.
In the same Gombe state, a suspected bomber on Friday abandoned a bomb-laden pick-up vehicle at a police check point on the Gombe-Biu road.
The suspect fled to an unknown destination after a failed attempt to detonate the improvised explosive devices at the check point.
An eyewitness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the scene on Friday that the suspected bomber had concealed the devices with bags of maize, house utensils, beddings and other items.
He was said to be driving from Gombe to Dadin Kowa-Biu.
According to the witness, the suspect first attempted to bribe the policeman at the Dutsen Kura check point near Dadin Kowa in Yamaltu/Deba Local government Area of Gombe State.
He said the police man on duty refused the bribe and insisted that he should park his van for checking.
The source said at that point, the suspected bomber rammed the vehicle into one of the drums filled with sand which was used as a barricade, apparently for the devices to explode.
He said that on realising that the items did not explode, the suspect rushed out of the vehicle and fled into the bush.
The suspect had earlier beaten two other police check points on the Gombe-Biu road before he ran out of luck.
Briefing newsmen at the scene, the Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Gombe Police Command, Mr Fwaje Atajiri, said the suspect had fled to an unknown destination.
Atajiri, a deputy superintendent of police, assured the people that the police were investigating the incident.
He showed newsmen the vehicle with registration number, MUS 104 BR (Lagos), which was used by the suspect to convey the items.
The items include five cylinders, bags of maize, a timed wall clock, house utensils and five jerry cans of fuel.
He said the household utensils were used as a cover while the fuel was to enhance inflammation when the devices exploded.
The spokesman said the anti-bomb personnel of the command cordoned off the place and diffused the devices.
He advised the public to be vigilant and inform the police of any suspicious persons or items to enable them to swing into action.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Kudu Nma, has called on traders, mechanics, painters and other stakeholders to be vigilant and report suspects to the police.
Nma made the call during a meeting with traders, mechanics and painters in his office in Gombe on Friday.
He said as dealers in mechanical items, nuts and other related items, they should be more alert and report persons whom they suspected to be buying items used in making such devices.
According to him, the command will not rest on its oars in ensuring that the state is rid of all criminal activities