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Published On: Thu, Jul 31st, 2014

Panic, as Army shuts Abuja market in search of bombs

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Abuja MarketBy Stanley Onyekwere, Abuja & Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi

There was panic yesterday, as officers and men of the Nigerian Army sealed-off the popular Spare Parts Market in Gudu district of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in search of suspected bombs allegedly planted in the market.

The action followed a purported suspicion over a possible bomb attack in the market, leading to the shop owners in the market being shut out of their business premises in the early hours of the day.

It was gathered that the security operatives arrived at the market sometime before 12 noon and closed the entrance and exit gates, leaving hundreds of traders and customers trapped inside the market.

While one account had it that the soldiers stormed the market following intelligence reports that terrorists were targeting it, another said that the soldiers were in the market to provide cover for the installation of high-tech security cameras.

Peoples Daily learnt that it was not until after some time that the soldiers allowed all ‘imprisoned’ persons out of the market, and thereafter, positioned two Ford Ranger vans to barricade the gate.

On a visit to the place, hundreds of distressed dealers, who were sighted discussing in clusters, however expressed their displeasure with some of the soldiers, complaining that they were not notified of the operation and were treated like prisoners of war.

They said the situation was tensed and traumatizing, saying the soldiers disgraced them, as they were made to vacate the market with their hands raised in the air.

“We were very frightened and devastated by how the security operatives went about the whole thing. Because it would have been done without subjecting us to the kind of ill-treatment we got from them,” said a dealer, who simply identified himself as Uche.

In a related development, men of the Bauchi Police Command yesterday discovered Improvise Explosive Devices (IEDs), buried in a building in Azare Katagum local government area of Bauchi state.

The state Police Command Public Relation Officer, DSP Mohammed Haruna confirmed the incident to news men in Bauchi, saying that the discovery was made on Wednesday, around by 4:30 p.m., who kept them safe.

According to him, the Explosive Ordinance Unit of the Command successfully recovered and rendered safe an IED gas cylinder, buried in a building site located at VIO Quarters, Azare, Bauchi.

The PPRO said other items recovered include 37 rounds double-barrel cartridge, pointing out that the building was reportedly occupied by hoodlums 5 months ago, before they were driven away.

DSP Haruna stressed that the Command appreciates the level of security consciousness of the public and urged them to do more, in order to promote security and safety in the State.

 

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