- Buhari, Atiku, Dogara, AI condemn bombing
Omololu Ogunmade, James Emejo in Abuja and Daji Sani in Yola
Fifty-three persons have been reportedly killed in Adamawa State following two separate incidents involving an attack by suspected militia farmers against a predominantly Fulani settlement in Numan Local Government Area in the state, and a suicide bombing in a mosque in Mubi, the commercial nerve centre of the state.
Confirming the Numan killings, the state Police Command said at least 30 women and children were killed in an attack carried out by militia farmers on Monday.
The spokesman of the command, Othman Abubakar, said the attack was carried out against Fulani herdsmen in the area by suspected farmers.
According to him, “About 30 Fulani children and women were killed during the attacks in Numan villages by suspected Bachama farmers and already investigation has commenced to arrest the suspects.
“We were told the attackers hailed from the affected areas. We are on the top of the situation and already investigations have commenced to fish out those involved.”
He said the attack took place when all the men had gone out to the market and for a wedding, so the women and children left behind were taken by surprise.
Abubakar maintained that the authorities were on top of the situation and had beefed up security in the communities to prevent a reprisal.
The incident in Numan took place before a suicide bombing Tuesday at a mosque in Mubi.
In that incident, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Tuesday night that 23 persons were killed and 43 others injured when a suicide bomber sneaked into a crowded mosque and launched an attack on worshipers observing their early morning prayers inside the mosque.
However, the state Police Command said some 50 persons were killed in the incident.
NEMA in a statement said: “Sequel to the report of the bomb blast that occurred at Anguwar Madina in Mubi North LGA, officials of NEMA Yola operations led by the North-east zonal coordinator, Mr. Bashir Idris Garga rushed to the scene of the incident.
“The team in collaboration with the Nigerian Red Cross, ICRC and other stakeholders conducted the evacuation exercise and casualty management.”
NEMA added that officials disclosed that apart from the 23 bodies that were evacuated to the mortuary, 43 persons were injured, of which eight were in critical condition.
“The injured victims are being referred to the Federal Medical Centre Yola for further medical intervention,” the agency said.
Also speaking on the bombing, the spokesmen of the Police Command said reports available to the command revealed that a 17-year-old suicide bomber sneaked into the mosque during early prayers at about 5:05 a.m. Tuesday and detonated IEDs strapped around his waist, resulting in the killing of about 50 people.
He said the incident occurred at the popular Shiwa Mosque located at Anguwar Medina in the Yelwa quarters of Mubi.
“We have received the report of 50 people that were killed in the Mubi morning attack on worshippers at a mosque and are trying to get the actual figure of those injured that are receiving treatment at various hospitals in the area,” Abubakar stated.
He said the security agencies were on top of the situation at the time of filing this report.
However, an eyewitness informed THISDAY that two suicide bombers ran from two directions into the mosque at exactly 5:05 a.m. while the Muslim faithful were observing their morning prayers.
The eyewitness, who identified himself as Usman, claimed that he escaped death by a whisker, because he was running late for the morning prayer.
“My house is close to the mosque. I was almost late for the prayers and as I was rushing, I saw two supposed worshippers rushing to enter the mosque. Moments after the duo entered the mosque, there was a loud bang,” Usman said.
“The bombers waited until the nearly 150 capacity mosques was filled before they struck,” he added.
He said moments after the blast, worshippers scampered for safety, “even as I watched from a distance”.
Usman further revealed that he immediately ran back to his house to evacuate his family to another part of the city for safety, saying that the magnitude of the attack and the loss of human lives were devastating.
Mubi town was captured and renamed “Madinatul Islam” by the Boko Haram insurgents for three months before it was eventually liberated by the Nigerian troops in August 2014.
A source told THISDAY that since Mubi was liberated, the terrorist group has been strategising and scheming to recapture the town because it is strategically located and could aid the insurgents in their operations without much resistance.
He said the insurgents want to retain Mubi as its headquarters at all cost because of its borders and commercial nature, and the belief that they could impose taxes on the residents to fund their operations.
Reacting to the latest bombing, the Adamawa State Government said a new security arrangement was in the offing for Mubi to prevent further occurrences.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy Ahmed Sajoh stated that the state government and security agencies were on top of the situation, even as normalcy returned to the ancient city.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Mubi North Local Government Area, Alhaji Musa Bello, said though the number of casualties was being compiled, he was of the view that it ran into dozens, with many more injured.
He described the incident as “pathetic and inhuman” and one that should be condemned by all Nigerians.
He also empathised with the families of victims of the bomb blast and prayed that God gives them the courage to bear their loss.
Reacting to the development Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari described the early morning suicide bomb blast in the mosque in Mubi as “very cruel and dastardly”.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari commiserated with families of the several victims, government and people of Adamawa State and assured them that the government would do everything required to secure the state from deadly Boko Haram attacks.
The statement added that the president enjoined the people in the entire North-east to be more vigilant and report suspicious persons to security agencies in order to avert further attacks on soft targets by the terrorist group.
According to the statement, Buhari also directed the Inspector-General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris to deploy more police personnel to prevent further attacks by bandits in Zamfara State.
The statement also said the president took cognisance of the current moves by the IG to review police personnel and strategy in the state and consequently directed him to visit the state and report back his findings about the deadly attacks.
It said the directives followed recent killings and wanton destruction by unknown gunmen in some communities in Shinkafi and Maradun Local Government Areas of the state.
The statement also said the president prayed God to console the bereaved families in Adamawa and Zamfara incidents, heal the injured, and grant rest to the departed souls.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar also described the murder of several persons by a suicide bomber in Mubi as a heart-rending crime against human liberty.
A press statement by the Atiku Media Office quoted the former vice-president as having received news of the Mubi attack with sadness.
According to the statement, “For a community that is healing and rebuilding after severe devastation by terrorists in the recent past, a yet another suicide bomb attack that claims scores of human lives is an attack on humanity and the liberty that it guarantees.
“Terrorists seek to instill fear, but through our collective courage and determination we shall triumph. We must ensure that liberty trumps fears and domination.
“By being vigilant and through a collaborative team spirit between the civic public and the security apparatus we must fight for liberty. We are all soldiers of liberty. Our strength lies in the fact that we fight for a good cause and we shall fight together till we are safe.”
While harping on the need to place greater emphasis on intelligence gathering, the former vice-president noted that respective homes are the take-off points in the fight to flush out terrorism from a community, as parents must get full information about the activities of their wards and children.
The former vice-president called on the relevant government authorities to provide succour to the bereaved families and give adequate healthcare provision to the wounded victims of the attack.
Similarly, Amnesty International (AI) condemned the attack on the mosque, calling it another example of Boko Haram’s continued unlawful disregard for human life.
A statement issued by Amnesty International’s media manager in Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, quoted the organisation’s director in the country, Mr. Osai Ojigho, as stating that Boko Haram must immediately stop the targeting of civilians and must be held accountable for all the atrocities it has committed, including the use of children for suicide missions.
Ojigho said: “Nigerian police have confirmed to us that 50 people have been confirmed dead so far following the early morning suicide attack at the mosque in Mubi in Adamawa State.
“This is the deadliest attack on civilians by the militant group since the start of the year. It is deplorable that the attack was launched at a time when civilians were congregating for dawn prayers.
“It happened only days after the reported abduction and beheading of six farmers in Dimge village in Mafa Local Government Area, Borno State.
“Since 2010, Amnesty International has been documenting human rights abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law by Boko Haram that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. “This year Boko Haram has killed 357 civilians during 55 attacks in northeastern Nigeria. The deadliest month was in August, when the militant group killed 100 people, followed by November, with 76 people killed already
“While no group has claimed responsibility for this today’s deadly attack, it bears all the hallmarks of the Boko Haram atrocities documented over the years by Amnesty International. This wanton and deliberate targeting of civilians must end.
“All parties to the ongoing conflict in North-east Nigeria, including Boko Haram, are bound by the rules of international humanitarian law, which explicitly prohibits any direct attacks against civilians and civilian objects.”
Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara Tuesday described as callous, insensitive and cowardly the suicide bomb attack at a mosque in the commercial town of Mubi, which claimed many lives.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, the Speaker expressed shock and concern that the wanton killing was targeted at innocent worshipers performing their obligatory religious duty.
He said: “I am deeply pained and saddened by this tragic incident which is a setback to our successes recorded in the restoration of peace in the North-east zone.”
While condoling with the families of the victims as well as the government and people of Adamawa State over the sad incident, Dogara reiterated his call on the Nigerian security forces to focus on intelligence gathering and timely deployment of information to stem terrorism.