20 killed, 50 houses burnt •As bomb blast rocks Maiduguri
The explosion, which occurred around 1.30 p.m., caught almost everybody unawares, thus creating panic, forcing the people to run in different directions to avoid being hit by flying rubble of objects destroyed by the bomb blast.
Besides, the operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF), consisting of combined team of soldiers and other security personnel, were not spared in the attack, as their vehicle was hit by the blast, just as two soldiers sustained severe injuries from the explosion.
An eyewitness, identified as Bukar, informed the Nigerian Tribune that while he was passing through the bridge situated very close to Lagos Street, he sighted some corpses on the ground, but he could not count them.
Investigation revealed that operatives of the JTF engaged the suspected militants, who masterminded the bomb blast, in a fierce gun duel, a development that compelled the residents to scamper to safety, while sporadic shooting rent the air.
At the time of filing this report, sound of gunshots continued to rock Maiduguri, while many residents, including women and children, were fleeing the troubled scene to avoid being caught in the violence.
Nigerian Tribune spotted some families affected by the latest bomb blast, wailing over the death of their relatives in the incident.
The deputy governor of Borno State, Alhaji Zannah Mustapha, later visited the area, urging the people to be calm, just as he assured that normalcy would be restored by the security agencies.
Confirming the incident, the spokesman for the JTF in the state, Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, in a text message to newsmen, said two soldiers were seriously wounded during the blast, even though a witness said one lieutenant died after the explosion.
While assuring that more details of the attack, including the casualties would be communicated to journalists later, he said JTF operatives had already cordoned off the scene of the blast.
Residents of Maiduguri accused the soldiers of killing civilians, shortly after the bomb explosion that resulted in the death of over 20 persons on Lagos Street.
Investigation by the Nigerian Tribune indicated that some aggrieved residents were blaming the operatives of the JTF for being involved in alleged “extra-judicial killings,” setting houses ablaze and assaulting individuals around the scene of attacks and bomb blast, under the guise of tacking Boko Haram terrorists.
Some of the residents lamented that “initially, soldiers that came after the explosion harassed people, whipping them. But later, they went on a shooting spree.”
Another resident of Lagos Street, where the explosion took place, saod “the JTF men were just shooting everybody in sight, saying the anger expressed by the soldiers was informed by the loss of their men to the incident.”Share
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