The spate of insecurity in parts of the north heightened yesterday with the bombing of the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, by a suicide bomber. The bomber, it was learnt, rammed into the premises in a bomb-laden vehicle and detonated the destructive device, which killed him and others who were close by before the authorities could stop him.
Mostly affected were students of the Ramat Polytechnic who were waiting at their bus-stop opposite the police headquarters, some policemen and civilians. Many vehicles parked at the station and nearby were reportedly destroyed by the force of the blast.
The police claimed that the blast killed a police inspector and four civilians but the casualty figure, it was learnt, is much higher.
A source at the Borno State Specialist Hospital said that he had counted no fewer than six bodies and 16 wounded persons a few minutes after the blast.
The development forced the Joint Task Force to cordon off many streets in the capital and deploy its men to frisk motorists and commuters.
Police spokesman Frank Mba, said: “At about 11:30am a lone male suicide bomber driving a light green Toyota Camry car, loaded with improvised explosive devices (IED), attempted to smash through the gate of the Borno police command headquarters.
“His attempt however failed as vigilant and combat-ready police officers on guard duty at the gate resisted and prevented him from gaining access into the premises. Obviously acting out of frustration and desperation, he detonated the explosives right outside the gate of the headquarters and killed himself in the process.
“One Inspector Ali Bulama, a gallant and very competent officer, and four other civilians who were passersby lost their lives in the incident. In addition, three other civilians and a couple of police officers sustained injuries of various degrees. They are all responding to treatment at various hospitals within Borno State.
“Meanwhile, a combined team of detectives from Borno State CID and the Police Bomb Disposal Unit has since commenced investigation, and has indeed made substantial progress in effort to track down and bring to book those behind the dastardly act”.