Seven Killed In B’Haram Attack On IDPs Camp In Yola
• Only Persons With Hearts Of Evil Could Have
Done This, Says Atiku
IT appears there is no safe haven yet for Nigeria’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), as two suicide bombers suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect, yesterday killed seven of them in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
This is the first time the insurgents would attack such a sensitive place in the country where people from different parts of the northeast dislocated by earlier attacks by the insurgents, are camped.
It was learnt that the bombers, pretending to be displaced persons, blew themselves off inside the camp’s hostels, killing seven people, four children and three other IDPs in the camp, and injuring dozens at the Malkohi IDPs camp in Yola, which currently accommodates hundreds of IDPs.
The IDPs camp is located 35 kilometres from the 32 Amour Brigade in Yola.
The state Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Sa’ad Bello, told The Guardian at the camp that the incident occurred around 11 a.m. when the agency was holding a meeting with its staff and a phone call was put across to him alerting him of the attack.
“Three people died on the spot and others were taken to the hospital. So, I cannot now say that this is the total number of people that died until I reach the hospitals where those that were injured are receiving treatment. Then, I can be able to confirm the total number of dead,” he said.
According to the NEMA boss, nine victims are receiving treatment in the hospital and the two suicide bombers, who came from Yobe State pretending to be IDPs, died in the blast.
When The Guardian visited Federal Medical Centre’s (FMC) ‘Sambisa ward,’ which is reserved for treatment of only victims of insurgency in the hospital, the Consultant Surgeon, Dr. Wadinga Daudu, confirmed that four children were brought to the hospital dead and several others are receiving treatment.
“Four children were today brought dead here by officials of NEMA and many victims that were injured as a result of the suicide bomb attack at the IDPs camp here in Yola. As you can see yourself, only in this ward, we have 10 patients that are undergoing treatment for various degrees of injuries,” the he said.
Daudu added that others victims were in other wards, because one ward cannot accommodate all the IDPs who sustained injuries.
“All the people that were brought here alive are in stable condition and they are responding to treatment. So far, we are yet to have a case that is beyond our medical control and we hope that all of them will survive due to our medical examination,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ahmed Sajoh, condemned the attack and called on the people of the state and security agents not to relent in their efforts to stamp out insurgents in the entire northeast region. This is the second suicide attack in the state capital this year.
Sajoh has promised to deploy more security personnel to the camp and undertake more thorough screening of visitors and inhabitants.
The state command spokesman, Othman Abubakar told AFP: “Our men are there. They are trying to find if there are any other explosives.”
In his reaction on Twitter, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai wrote: “The governor of Adamawa just informed the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) that an explosion took place in an IDPs camp in Yola, killing seven children and injuring 10 persons. May Allah grant repose to their souls and provide succour to the people of Adamawa and Nigerians at large. May Allah expose these heartless criminals.”
On his part, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar expressed deep sadness at the incident. In a press statement by his media office in Abuja yesterday, Atiku said the bombing could only have been planned and executed by persons with hearts of evil.
He said it was pathetic for the agents of evil to target the thousands of already traumatised and vulnerable people, mainly from Borno and Yobe states, who were seeking refuge in the camp.
Atiku, who is the Turaki Adamawa, said: “Many people I know were working as volunteers in the camp, including staff and students of AUN (American University of Nigeria), who are being nurtured and mentored in the best tradition of service to humanity by giving of their time, energy and at times resources to their fellow human beings.
“Today’s (yesterday’s) attack is an attempt to break the spirits of the people who came to seek refuge. The perpetrators will know no peace. We refuse to be broken. We will win the war against terrorism. We shall overcome!”
According to AFP, Lionel Rawlings, head of security at the AUN, confirmed flying debris injured student volunteers.
“None was in direct contact with the explosion but there was flying shrapnel. We dodged the bullet,” he said.
The actual number of casualties is expected to rise, but Governor Jibrilla Bindow, who was attending the NSGF in Kaduna at the time of the blast, was reported to have informed his colleagues that children were among the dead.
Armed soldiers manned the gates and carried out checks on vehicles and passengers.
The IDPs camps across the country, which accommodate almost half a million Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, have served as safe haven for them.
A weakened and decimated Boko Haram has since losing territories it was holding to the military onslaught, has resorted to attacking soft targets. It was recently reported that over 800 Nigerians might have died from the insurgents’ attacks since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29.
Usually, security is tight around the facilities with armed troops manning the gates and carrying out searches on passengers and vehicles entering it.
The gates of the IDPs camps are constantly open. Although manned by mainly soldiers, many visitors still manage to slip through. .
Visitors are usually given a paper tag before being allowed in, but many times, some manage to slip through, as soldiers (sometimes assisted by policemen and other security agents) are often overwhelmed by the crowd; hence soldiers scantily do the checking. .