30 dead, 40 injured in suicide attack


NO fewer than 30 people were yesterday confirmed dead in a suicide attack on a local market, in Mandari community, Konduga, Borno State.

The scene of horror is less than 20 kilometres to Maiduguri, the state capital.

President Muhammadu Buhari sent his condolences to the victims’ families and Governor Babagana Umara Zulum visited the victims on their hospital beds.

It was learnt that the attack was carried out by three suicide bombers who also died.

Local sources confirmed that more than 30 people died in the attack, which occurred on Sunday night.

Kachalla Hassan, a resident of Konduga, told our correspondent in Maiduguri that 23 bodies were buried in the first batch of mass burial that was conducted. Nine others were buried in two cemeteries.

Hassan said: “The death toll is more than 30. We buried the first batch of 23 people and nine people again were buried at two cemeteries. I am sure that other people have also died at the hospitals as they were being evacuated to Maiduguri.”

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An official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who pleaded for anonymity, however, put the death toll at 24 with over 32 injured cases.

He said three “very critical” cases had been moved to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).

The Red Cross official said: “I can confirm to you that 24 people have lost their lives in the suicide attack. We are treating over 30 people that were injured. Out of the 30, about 15 are red cases and the remaining are green cases.

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“The red cases are the ones that are very critical and serious. We have already transferred three of such cases to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.  The green cases are minor injuries that could be treated and the people may not necessarily require to be admitted in our facility.”

Usman Kachalla, the Director of Rescue, Borno State Emergency Management Agency, also put the death toll at 30. He spoke of difficulty his team encountered before entering Konduga because the military had cordoned off the area early yesterday.

According to Kachalla, the officials were prevented from getting to Konduga for over two hours as the soldiers claimed they “were acting on orders from above”.

The excessive blood loss as a result in the delay of access to medical facilities in Konduga contributed to the high death toll. The health facilities are located on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

Some Civilian JTF and local vigilance groups also confirmed that the delay in access to medication aggravated the death toll.

Amodu Idriss, a Civilian JTF member, said: “We were early at the scene of the incident, but there was little we could do to people that were seriously wounded. Some of them were just bleeding and dying and we cannot help the situation.”

The governor visited the victims at the State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.

Zulum, who expressed sadness over the spate of Boko Haram attacks, promised to support the treatment of the victims. He praised the Red Cross for its support in the treatment of victims.

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The governor was conducted round the wards by the hospital’s Medical Director, Dr. Laraba Bello. He directed the immediate expansion of the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital.

The governor also commended the efforts of the ICRC and promised to supplement their efforts in the treatment of victims and their strategic support to victims of insurgency.

The governor was also happy with the role of the Civilian JTF and other security agencies. He promised more operational support for them.

To some Maiduguri residents, the renewed suicide attack in Konduga is a bad omen. They urged security agencies to nip the trend in the bud.

Bunu Mustapha, a civil servant, said: “We cannot begin to start witnessing another trend of suicide attacks in Maiduguri. The attack on Konduga is a bad omen for us that have been in Maiduguri.

“Konduga is not far from us. If the security don’t do something fast, it will become a bad time for us here in the state capital. They need to be proactive to clear these suicide bombers wherever they are being prepared.”

Maiduguri metropolis has had its fair share of suicide attacks, especially from areas like Post-Office, Customs and, in the last few years, Jidari Polo and Muna Garage where suicide bombing was almost a daily affair.

 



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