Another Bloodbath Averted as Bomber Targets Suleja Church

20 Feb 2012

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St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla was bombed on Christmas Day

By Aisha Wakaso, Yemi Akinsuyi  and John Shiklam

For the seventh time in less than one year, the serene atmosphere of Suleja, Niger State, was Sunday shattered by a bomb that went off from a vehicle.

The car was reportedly parked on the roadside close to a few others by an unknown person who walked away shortly before the explosion.

One person was feared dead and four others injured in the blast, which occurred at 10.38am a few metres away from Christ Embassy Church, Morocco Road in the town.
The church was believed to be the target.

Also, the Director of Finance Administration at the Kaduna State Ministry of Information, Mr. Isuwa Kiforo, who was shot several times on his legs and lower abdomen last week by security men attached to the state Government House, Kaduna, has died.

He was pronounced dead at the 44 Army Referral Hospital, Kaduna, where he was on admission.

THISDAY gathered that vigilant Suleja residents had noticed a man wearing gloves park a car without number plates by the roadside and left immediately.

Having noticed that the car was parked close to the church and its occupant's sudden disappearance, residents, it was also learnt, alerted security men who advised that nobody should go close to the car until the owner reappeared.

Another account quoting unnamed members of the church said some security men attached to the church discovered the bomb and alerted the head pastor, who thereafter informed the congregation of the development.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.
However, the area had been targeted in the past by Boko Haram - including the 2011 Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in nearby Madalla that killed at least 44 people.

Sunday's explosion occurred just as the church began its service, Pastor Uyi Idugboe told journalists.

Security guards at the church had noticed something suspicious by the abandoned car, prompting the pastor to call everyone inside the church before the service began, he said.

The bomb had apparently been wrapped with a motorcycle chain, which sent metal shrapnel flying everywhere when the explosive detonated, witnesses said.

The explosion tore away the engine compartment of the abandoned car and damaged four other vehicles nearby.

The blast left five persons seriously injured, while five vehicles were damaged, another account said.

THISDAY further learnt that one of the victims that were rushed to one of the hospitals in Gwagwalada later lost the fight to stay alive. 

“One of the injured that was rushed to the Gwagwalada Hospital died eventually,” a security operative in the state, who pleaded anonymity, said.

An eyewitness also said: “The most fortunate thing was when the bomb exploded in the car, there was no fire from the vehicle, though the other parked vehicles by the side were affected because of the impact of the explosion.”

The explosion had an impact on the church building and it succeeded in bringing the service to an abrupt halt with the members scampering for safety.

The Gresen Hotel in which frontage the car was parked had its roof partially shattered. 

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Richard Oguche, confirmed the incident, saying the police and military had already cordoned off the area.

Oguche said the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 7, Alhaji Atiku Kafiru; Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Maishanu; and the Emir of Suleja, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, had visited the scene, adding that out of the five injured persons, three were treated at the Suleja General Hospital for minor injuries, while the two who were critically injured, had been transferred to the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital.

Meanwhile, in Kaduna, the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Saidu Adamu, described the deceased as “a nice, gentle and good person to work with”, adding that he had worked with Kiforo, and that “I have found him a great staff to work with. I don’t understand why he did what led to his being shot. That would be left to the police to explain”.

Kiforo, who was also a pastor with the Living Faith Church, Kaduna, was shot by security men at the gate of the Government House for allegedly attempting to force his way in when he was prevented by the security men.
Security agents at the gate were said to have mistaken him for a member of Boko Haram, when in spite of refusing to allow him into the Government House, he allegedly wanted to drive in by force.

The state Police Commissioner, Mallam Mohammed Ballah Nasarawa, had in a statement immediately after the shooting of Kiforo, said that the deceased breached security at the Government House, adding however that no weapon or explosives were found on him or in the car he was driving.

The deceased hailed from Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of the state.

Tags: Nigeria, News, Featured, Madalla

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Comments (10)

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  • May his rest in peace Amen. I beliefs his time is off but only how his death came is too barbaric. We all owes death, which one day it could be his killer's turn. We should have it at back of our mind that if you kill by sword, definitely you will die by sword. My God Almighty comfort the wife, children and parents. Amen.

    From: Titi Mago (Mrs)

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Niger people should take things serious. When those vigilant saw the man that parked unnumbered car with gloves in his hand, they should've follow him to know his hiding place and even arrest him. Until we are serious about security in this country before all these mess will be stopped. Security is everybody concern, not government alone.

    From: Titi Mago (Mrs)

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • May His Soul Rest in Peace

    From: Matthew Das

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Many evil now come under 'Boko Haram'. The Muslims community in Suleja have long sought for ways of expressing their hatred for Christianity. While Christians are thought to love, even your enemies and do good to those who hate you; they (Muslims) are thought to kill anyone, even their children, who exercises his fundamental human right to be anything but a Muslim! But I believe that God, whose nature is Love, will judge the wickedness of these evil men and their sponsors. Their sponsors are within Suleja. Presently they have been instructed by the monarch not to sell land to Christians. Why? What is our sin? Nothing but cheer religious and racial prejudice. GOD WILL JUDGE THE WICKED!!!

    From: Hakilu Ezekiel

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • A man that is occupying such position (Director) should have known how to obey rules and regulation,he shouldnt have done that,what could have so urgent that he could not obey orders? What happens to his phone? I believe he should be able to reach a higher authority on hotline,what happens to the doctrines in church? Where was his driver? This shows the other side of am bigger than you syndrome of we Nigerians.

    From: Sam

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Every Nigerian citizen should learn how to be security conscious, not leaving everything to uniform security personnel. Security is everybody's business and not Government alone.
    May God help us.

    From: paul

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Na waooh

    From: Anyi

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • @ Sam; This is the police version that he breached security, by the time the real version comes out it would be another story altogether. Nigeria police should be more professional because tomorrow it could be another innocent person. This is how they have been killing innocent people and tell useless stories. Today they suspect he was a Boko Haram member, tomorrow he was a gun runner, next tomorrow he wanted to disarm 5 police men and so and so forth the drama continues.....

    From: Charles

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • In less than 2 months , 2 attacks launched against churchies, with over 44 christians killed in Suleija ! Senator Ndume, IBB and Awal Ibrahim were all mentioned and identified as the principal sponsors of terrorism by those already arrested as suspects ! What has been done about these individuals ?

    From: ajayi olupona

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • This issue of consistent and regular bombing of churches in suleja and its enviros is not far fetched. Those behind this hinous crimes are not strangers but wicked and evil men pitching their tenths around suleja, and should desist forthwith because God's big eyes are watching, taking records of who does what, when and how. Do not allow yourselves to be used by evil men to terminate life's you cannot create.

    From: PrinceUkay

    Posted: 3 years ago

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