At least 19 people were said to have been killed yesterday in Gombe when a suspected female bomber disguised as a passenger entered Dukku Motor Park and detonated explosives.
According to an eyewitness who spoke to our correspondent, the incident happened at exactly 10:50 am, when the female bomber detonated the bomb in a Sharon bus, leaving scores of people dead, while others sustained degrees of injuries.
He said the bomber, took advantage of a fully loaded bus when passengers have already boarded the vehicle to travel to other parts of the state, noting that the bomber was said to have just kept the bag in the bus, disembarked, without coming back to the vehicle.
Speaking further, the source said during the blast, two vehicles were burnt to ashes, adding that hawkers were among those that were affected in the blast.
He decried that the bomber may not have succeeded in her mission if there was a serious screening at the gate of the park.
Confirming the incident to newsmen, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Fwaji Atajiri, said after the blast, 19 people were feared dead while 25 others were injured.
He said the police had cordoned off the area, noting that those that died at the incident have been taken to mortuary, while the injured were responding to treatment at Gombe Specialist Hospital.
The police spokesman called on the general public to assist security agents in order maintain law and order, saying the Police cannot perform its civic responsibility without the assistance of the public and urged them to report any suspicious movement in their vicinity.
A similar blast occurred last November at the Gombe Line motor park, killing scores of commuters, drivers and traders.
In a related development, a bomb explosion that occurred on Monday evening at the busy Central Market close to the Police station in Bauchi, left scores of people dead with many others severely injured.
Bauchi State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammed Haruna, confirmed the incident saying: “There was a bomb explosion at the Bauchi Central Market, Monday, at about 5:30hrs. As a result of the blast, the market went into flames.
According to him, the scene was cordoned off by combined security Forces, including Police explosive ordinance disposal unit.
He said the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Lawal visited the scene for assessment.
As at press time however, the number of casualties was yet to be ascertained, even as rescue operation was still ongoing. But eyewitnesses said scores of people were killed with many others injured.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Mu’azu Musa, said he saw charred bodies of victims as they were being evacuated from the scene of the blast.
Musa, who said he was an Okada rider and was by the roundabout near the market when the blast occurred, stated that he fell down from his motorcycle when he saw the charred bodies of the victims, adding that he lost consciousness as a result of this, only to see himself in the hospital.
Victims were seen being evacuated from the scene by Red Cross officials to the Trauma Centre of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH).
Speaking with journalists at the hospital, the Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of the hospital in charge of clinical matters, Dr Saidu Abubakar Kadas, stated that the actual figure of the casualties could not be ascertained yet, as victims were being brought in.
He, however, assured that the teaching hospital was in a better stead to handle the situation as most of its health workers had been mobilised to attend to the victims.
Also speaking, the chairman of the ATBUTH branch of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Pharmacist Idris Ado, stated that health workers who were currently on strike, had been directed to report for work tomorrow (today) to take care of the victims.
Meanwhile, Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda has condemned the bomb blast, describing it as a most unfortunate and barbaric incident aimed at disrupting the absolute peace the state is enjoying.
A press statement signed and issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Deacon Ishola Michael Adeyemi, condemned the perpetrators of the heinous act, describing them as cowards who are always happy in spilling innocent blood.