Even though no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, eyewitnesses claimed that some suicide bombers came to the park to carry out the attack using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
The incident, which occurred at about 5:30pm affected five luxury buses when twin bombs exploded as some passengers were boarding the buses at the busy motor park which was filled with passengers, park workers and hawkers, especially children and women.
Two luxury buses were said to have exploded, with the fire from the buses setting fire to three other buses.
Our correspondent, who was at the motor park shortly after the explosions, saw about five luxury buses on fire and men of fire service trying to put it out. Several restaurants and shops were also burnt in the process.
A motor park attendant, Ade Ola, told our correspondent that some suicide bombers had came in a red Golf car and appeared as if they were passengers in a rush to board one of the buses.
According to him, “The explosion happened at about 5:30 pm when all the buses were about boarding. They were filled with passengers and are all dead.”
Ade said he saw the remains of a skinny young female hawker of sachet water he knew.
“Many of us saw the suicide bombers coming in two different golf cars,” he continued. “One stopped in between the four buses and the other stopped at a distance. We thought them to be passengers. The first bomb exploded before the other.
LEADERSHIP gathered that at about 9pm, there was heavy presence of security personnel and paramilitary agents at the scene, while the fire was still burning some pieces of the items belonging to the victims.
It was gathered that the injured passengers had been taken to government hospitals.
I saw the road littered with bodies — Eyewitness
An eyewitness who was at the park told LEADERSHIP that he saw the road littered with bodies as two buses loaded with people exploded right before his eyes close to the police check point in front of the park.
While the eyewitness who sought anonymity said he could not specifically tell the exact number of people killed in the incident, he said that at least two luxury buses conveying over 60 people exploded with all its passengers, and that the fire from the two buses caught three other buses which were still loading, making it five buses in all that were affected by the blast.
Narrating what happened, the eyewitness said: “I went to the Sabongari Park to board a night bus to Lagos. While I was waiting, a luxury bus fully loaded that just departed blew up right in front of us. Almost immediately, a second bus that was also fully loaded and leaving behind that one also blew up.
“I saw bodies littering everywhere. People were burning; people were crying; people were running helter skelter; there was pandemonium everywhere; there was huge flame and smoke everywhere; one could hardly see anything,” he said in a shaky voice.
He explained that people could not get close to the burning buses to offer any help to the burning victims due to the huge flame.
According to him, the first bus was heading for Lagos but he could not tell the destination of the second bus, noting, however, that there are three terminals at the Sabongari Park from where buses take passengers to Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
“I knew the first bus was going to Lagos because one guy that I was chatting with all through the time at the park was going to Lagos. So when his bus got filled, he told me, ‘we will see in Lagos,’ and he left to board the bus. His bus was the first to explode just before my eyes.
“There were women, children in those buses; every one of them burning right before my eyes,” the eyewitness, who escaped death by the whiskers, said.
He confirmed that the flame affected three other buses that were waiting to be filled, but could not say whether there were people in them.
He, however, added that, within minutes, soldiers arrived at the scene, releasing tear gas canisters and shooting into the air to scare people from the scene. He said as he was running away, he heard explosions from another location within Sabon Gari, but could not tell the exact location where the bombs exploded or if there were casualties.
Bomb blasts can’t stop FG’s war against terrorists
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has decried the bomb attacks in Kano, declaring that barbaric activities by terror groups will not stop the federal government from its firm resolve to overcome those who do not want anything good in the country.
In a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the president commiserated with families of victims of the bomb blasts yesterday.
He further said, “The federal government will not be stampeded, for any reason whatsoever, into abandoning its unrelenting war against terrorists in the country”.
According to Abati, “President Jonathan reassured Nigerians and foreigners in the country that the Nigerian Government will continue to do all that is required to ensure the safety of lives and property, including continued collaboration with local and international partners and stakeholders to check the menace of terrorism.”
He noted that the president pledged support to the Kano State government in this challenge moment.
ACF to bombers: lay down your arms now
Disturbed by the level of insecurity and bombings in the region, the apex northern socio-cultural organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday told masterminds of the explosions to lay down their weapons in the interest of dialogue.
The ACF, in a text message sent to one of our correspondents by its spokesman, Anthony Sani, said the attacks at the New Road Kano park in Sabon Gari was shocking and uncalled for.
According to the ACF, those engaged in violent killings for the purpose of addressing their concerns should lay down their arms and embrace constructive dialogue.
Source of explosion yet to be determined — NEMA
Also, the management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said that rescuers and security personnel are yet to determine the source of explosions that occured at the motor park along New Road, Sabon Gari, Kano.
NEMA spokesperson Yushau Shuaib said the casualty figures were not available at the moment, and that bodies of casualties had been evacuated while the seriously injured had been taken to hospital.
3 teachers, 2 students, killed in Maiduguri school attack
Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members yesterday attacked three different public schools [Shehu Sanda Kyarimi, Mafoni Day Secondary School and Ali Askiri UBE/Primary School] in Mafoni ward of Maiduguri metropolitan council, (MMC) and opened fire on them, killing three women and two students as well as injuring over 20 pupils and students.
The separate attacks, which took place in the early hours of yesterday, forced many people especially students and teachers of the schools to hurriedly close the schools while parents were seen scampering to the various schools to take their children back home for safety.
An eyewitness who did not want his name in print told our correspondent who visited the scene shortly after the incident that two female teachers and one woman selling groundnuts were killed in the Shehu Sanda Kyarimi Secondary School around Ruwan Zafi ward of the metropolis.
Our correspondent further gathered that the incident occurred at about 9:10am around Ruwan Zafi area of Maiduguri metropolitan council, where six suspected Boko Haram sect members laid ambush to Shehu Sanda Kyarimi Secondary School, and shot dead yet to be identified teachers, while three female students sustained injuries from stray bullets.
Another gunman also attacked a public school in Mafoni ward of MMC. It was gathered that the incident happened at about 11:20am. They stormed Ali Askiri Primary School and shot one Mallam Abdullahi and a male student, before moving to Mafoni Day Secondary School and killed a female teacher identified as Hajja Yagumsu.
But a top security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told journalists : “About 0910 around Ruwan Zafi area of Maiduguri metropolis, six suspected Boko Haram attacked Shehu Sanda Kyarimi Secondary School, and shot dead yet to be to identified teacher, while three female students sustained injuries”. He added that at about 1120 hours at Mafoni area of the metropolis another gang believed to be Boko Haram stormed Ali Askiri Primary School, killing a teacher, Mallam Abdullahi.
He further stated that after attacking the Ali Askira Primary School, the same gunmen moved to Mafoni Day Secondary School and killed a female teacher identified as Hajja Yagumsu.
Speaking to journalists on the separate attacks, the commissioner for home affairs, information and culture, Mr Inuwa Bwala, said, “It is unfortunate that the state government under the leadership of Governor Kashim Shettima has placed much priority to the education sector, but the security challenges is really posing a great concern to the people and government of the state.”
Confirming the incident, the Joint Task Force (JTF) spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, in a press release singed and made available to journalists in the evening, stated: “Information available to the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order indicated that a teacher at Sanda Karami Secondary School, Ruwan Zafi, Customs General Area in Maiduguri metropolis, one Malam Kachalla, was shot dead today Monday, 18 March, 2013 8-9 am inside the school’s premises by Boko Haram terrorists.
5 killed, 20 houses burnt over land dispute in Benue
Also, five people were yesterday killed and about 25 houses burnt in a renewed land dispute between Mbagur and Mbawuar communities in Vandeikya local government area of Benue State.
Mbangur and Mbawuar are kindreds within Mbadede council ward of Vandeikya LGA, the home town of the special adviser to the Benue State governor on media and public Affairs, Dr Cletus Akwaya, as well as the former director of Federal Highways, Mr Jime Akaaka.
But it was learnt that the kindred head of Mbawuar community, Zaki Terkula Kuha and five tax collectors in the areas were yesterday arrested by the police for allegedly inducing the crisis.
The dispute, which began since yesterday, broke out when members of the Mbangur community had gone to farm on a portion of land which the rival Mbawuar community had claimed to be rightful owners of it. This is the third time the land dispute will occur.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the case on the disputed land had been dragged to an upper court in Makurdi and that judgment was delivered in favour of Mbangur community. But the situation reportedly infuriated the rival Mbawuar community and they violently protested the verdict because, according to them, the judgement was influenced by some top government functionaries from the area.
At Mbadede yesterday, primary and secondary schools as well churches and market places were closed down due to the crisis. But the council chairman of Vandeikya LGA, Mr. Benedict Kume, had quickly ordered the deployment of security operatives to maintain peace in the area.
Police public relations officer (PPRO) DSP Daniel Ezeala confirmed the incident but said that the command was yet to be officially briefed of any deaths. He added that men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Operation Zenda had since been detailed to the affected communities to maintain law and order.
80-year-old man, 5 others killed in Jos
Meanwhile, an 80-year-old village head, Da Dung Bot Gwom, and three other members of a family have been shot dead by attackers at Tapo village in Heipang district of Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State during an attack by yet to be identified gunmen on Sunday evening.
LEADERSHIP investigations revealed that the 80-year old village head, Da Dung Bot Gwom, was believed to have died from exhaustion while trying to escape from the gunmen,
According to eyewitnesses, the gunmen stormed the village at about 11pm, breaking into the residence of Rwang Davou (71) killing him, his 47-year-old son, Pam Rwang Davou, and his six-year old grandson, Martins Pam Rwang.
Pam’s wife escaped with injuries and is now receiving treatment in hospital, according to eyewitnesses.
The three family members were buried yesterday while the body of the village head has been deposited in the mortuary for proper burial arrangements due to his status, according to a villager who spoke to LEADERSHIP.
The burial was witnessed by the chairman, management committee of Barkin Ladi LGA, Mr. Emmanuel Loman, and a member representing the area in the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Kaneng Gyang Fulani.
They commiserated with the people and urged them to be calm while the incident was being investigated.
The media officer of the Special Task Force in the state, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.
In another development, two people were brutally killed by unknown gunmen in Torok-Rim village of Riyom LGA of the state.
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that those killed where children between the ages of 2 and 4 and they died as a result of gunshot wounds .
According to an eyewitness, the incident happened at about 5:30am yesterday. Two children died while four others were rushed to Vom Christian Hospital.
The chief medical director of the hospital, Dr. Samuel Dido, who confirmed the death of the two children, said four others were still unconscious with severe gunshot injuries.
The majority leader and member representing Riyom in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Daniel Dem, who visited the scene condemned the attack and called on the STF commander, Gen. Henry Ayoola, to redeploy the Sector 9 commander, Col. Jimoh, to ensure peace in the council area.