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Kaduna Explosion: Police Dismiss Eyewitness Bomb Reports

December 7, 2011

Kaduna city was thrown into mourning and confusion earlier today, following a blast that jolted the city killing about 10 persons and injuring several others.

Kaduna city was thrown into mourning and confusion earlier today, following a blast that jolted the city killing about 10 persons and injuring several others.

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The police authorities said the explosion had resulted from a gas cylinder, but eyewitnesses categorically described the blast as a bomb explosion tossed into the area by two men riding on a motorbike.  No one has claimed responsibility for it.

The loud explosion occurred at No.32 Ogbomosho Street, off Katsina Road, Oria-Akpata, at about 9:30 a.m.  The spot is close to old Scala Cinema, Kaduna, which now houses spare part shops in the area

When the news flittered around Kaduna, many parents rushed to area schools to pick up their children and wards for fear of the unknown, as armed soldiers, police and plain clothed security agents cordoned off the area.  Fire fighters from the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) tried to end the massive fire, which eviscerated many shops around the scene of the explosion.

Our reporters saw gory images of dead and injured persons, body parts and pools of blood, with one human head found lying separately.  Officials assembled and packaged the grisly mess in polythene bags.

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The explosion was powerful enough to hurl heavy spare parts weighing more than 50 kilograms over 50 to 60 meters away.  Observers said that was immediate proof that the explosion couldn’t have come from a gas cylinder as was being claimed by police.  The explosion also forcefully dismantled and dispersed various components of car engines from the scene into an open field in front of the old cinema house.

It was unclear why the police were dismissing the explosion as a gas cylinder even before any meaningful investigation had been undertaken.  The Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Ballah Magaji Nasarawa, told newsmen at the scene, “It is a very sad incident and as at now we are still working and fire is raging, and if you observe this is where they sell batteries, acid and gas and we are suspecting it is within and not saboteurs.”

When he was asked about the two men who allegedly arrived on a motorcycle and hurled the explosives, he said, “That is not true.”

On casualties, Mr. Nassarrawa told SaharaReporters that he counted six bodies but cautioned that the final tally may be higher “until after investigations.”

SaharaReporters also spoke directly with the commander of the anti-bomb unit on the scene.  Asst. Superintendent of Police, Patrick David, told Saharareporters that the blast was a “mechanical explosion” from reactive chemicals he claimed were pressured in a can containing compressed acid used by battery sellers in the market.  This seems to contradict the Commissioner of police insitence that it was a gas cylinder explosion.

While not admitting that it was a bomb, ASP Patrick likened the explosion to a Boko Haram attack in Suleija which also  claimed several lives earlier this year.

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