The Yobe state police yesterday intercepted a pick-up van loaded with 6 cylinders of what is suspected to be Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs).
The driver of the vehicle, whose name was given as Saddiq Umar, was said to have taken to his heels when the police stopped him but was overcome and arrested.
During interrogation by the police, he was reported
as saying they were two, with the other one in a Golf car, whose whereabouts was not yet ascertained as the time of filing this report.
Our reporter, who was close to the scene, reported that the vehicle was loaded with bags of beans which was later discovered to be hiding the cylinders below.
The police at the Police ‘A’ division later off loaded the beans to discover the hidden bombs which were connected to timers, suggesting that they might be time bombs.
When contacted however, the state commissioner of police, Sanusi Rufa’i could not comment on the issue but told Peoples Daily that investigation is going on and that he will respond thereafter.
Residents in Damaturu were thrown into panic when three gunshots were fired into the air, followed by another two, which happened to be tear gas fired by the police to disperse people around the area.
However, the Director Defence Information/Coordinator, Major-General Chris Olukolade, in a press statement issued in Abuja yesterday, stated that, “An attack by a suicide bomber operating in a pickup vehicle laden with IEDs was foiled in Damaturu, the Yobe State Capital.
“The target of the attack was ‘A’ Division of Police Command situated by the main round-about in the heart of the town.
“The attempt was however foiled as the culprit was arrested by the police personnel on duty.
“A total of 6 already constructed turbine containers loaded with explosives as well as 20 liters of petrol and 11 bags of beans chaff have been recovered from the scene.
“The recovered materials are in the custody of the Joint Taskforce Headquarters in Damaturu.
“The police anti-bomb squad has safely detonated the explosive”, the statement stated.
In a related development, Scores of people, mostly traders, were reportedly feared dead yesterday, while several others sustained gunshots injuries when gunmen suspected to be members the dreaded Boko Haram sect attacked a village market in Borno state.
This came barely three days after a similar incident in which another set of the gunmen blocked the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway and killed 10 travellers.
Similarly, several travellers were also affected in the incident when the gunmen barricaded the road and attacked motorists.
The incident occurred around 12p.m., when the insurgents, numbering about 30 , armed with sophisticated weapons and explosives have reportedly stormed a weekly market in Kayamla village, Konduga local government area of the state.
The attackers, who were believed to have emerged from the nearby bushes, began shooting sporadically into the crowd and carted away large quantities of assorted foodstuff before throwing explosives into shops.
Kayamla, which is located some 25km away from Maiduguri, is an all-grains market, where traders from various towns around the city of Maiduguri, sell and buy assorted grains.
Residents of the area who fled to Maiduguri told newsmen that the onslaught lasted for over three hours as the insurgents had a field day without being confronted by security forces.
A cab driver, Malam Goni Bakura, claimed that his 41 year- old brother, Modu Bakura, also a commercial driver, was killed during the attack.
Malam Bakura said many of the traders and other residents who patronise the market escaped death because they sighted the gunmen from a far distance as they were advancing towards the market.
Another resident, who declined identification, claimed that 10 people lost their lives in the attack while several shops and vehicles abandoned by their occupants were burnt.
The resident also said several motorists and others who attempted escaping from the roadblock mounted by the insurgents were wounded when the assailants fired sporadic shots into the direction of their vehicles.