Tears At Easter As Multiple Suicide Bombers Attack Maiduguri

No fewer than 25 persons lost their lives while 84 others were injured in a suicide attack by the terrorist group in Borno State on Easter Sunday. The attack was launched at a wedding ceremony in Jere Local Government Area, leading to a high casualty rate. The terrorist had attempted to invade Maiduguri through Bale Kura, Bale Shuwair, Alikuramti, and Jamine villages, all in Jere.

According to a statement released by the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Damien Chukwu, “On April 1st, 2018 at about 20:20 hours, Boko Haram terrorists in an attempt to infiltrate Maiduguri through Bale Kura, Bale Shuwari, Jamine and Alikaramti villages in the Jere Local Government Area on the outskirts of Maiduguri township detonated IEDs. They were promptly repelled by the military and police reinforcements. In the process, about 84 persons were injured while 20 persons were killed in the attack.”

The Commissioner stated that 18 persons died on the spot as five male suicide bombers detonated their IEDs in the midst of the people at the wedding. He also disclosed that the mutilated bodies of the suicide bombers were discovered and their remains packed alongside 18 corpses to the mortuary. He added that another two persons died on Monday morning among the 86 injured persons. Two undetonated suicide vests were recovered and rendered safe by the Police EOD Unit.

The multiple suicide bomb attack has been condemned by the Nigerian government, as well as by the United Nations. The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (UNOCHA), Yassine Gaba, strongly condemned the attack in a statement released to the press. He specifically noted that: “The recent weeks have seen a steady continuation of attacks on civilians in the three most conflict-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Since the beginning of the year, at least 120 women, children and men have been killed and over 210 sustained serious injuries in over 22 attacks allegedly by non-state armed groups directly targeting civilians.”

“Civilians are also regularly abducted, as in Dapchi, Yobe State, where 110 schoolgirls were taken on February 19th. Women, children and men face daily grave human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence. Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of girls, women, boys and men have been abducted and children continue to be used routinely as so-called suicide bombers,” the statement added.

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima also condemned the attack, describing it as “atrocious,” “sad,” and “insensible.” Speaking to newsmen when he paid a courtesy visit to the victims of the suicide bomb attack at the Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri, Shettima said that although visible progress had been made in the fight against insurgents, attacks were still inevitable. He promised an intensified effort from the security operatives to restore peace and security to the troubled state. Shettima assured that the victims of the attack would be provided free treatment, as well as support, during their period of recuperation. The Governor also sympathized with the families of those who lost their lives in the attack.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas, has also set up a four-man committee to probe the multiple attacks by Boko Haram to invade Maiduguri on Easter Sunday. The purpose of the committee is to provide information on the attack, which would help forestall a re-occurrence.

There is an urgent need for the Nigerian government to step up its game in effectively tackling and eradicating the Boko Haram menace. The military has to increase intelligence efforts, especially in deserted towns and villages which the insurgents use for their hideouts.

Oraka Onome