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30 Feared Dead, Over 100 injured As Female Suicide Bombers Attack Wedding, Funeral in Borno

Tears flowed freely on Saturday as female suicide bombers attacked funeral and wedding ceremonies in Gwoza, Borno State.

Tears flowed freely on Saturday as suicide bombers attacked funeral and wedding ceremonies in Gwoza, Borno State, with reports indicating up to  30 persons have been killed and Injuries inflicted on over 100 others, in what seems like a return of suicide bombing in the state, the epicentre of violent Boko Haram attacks.
Gwoza, located in the southern part of the North-east state, was at a time the emirate headquarters of the insurgents, who at that time, killed the traditional ruler of the hilly town.

Suicide bombing by the insurgents had stopped until Saturday’s incidents, which have fuelled fears that the reign of terror might have returned.
Confirming the multiple attacks, the Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Barkindo Saidu, said: “In my presence, at about exactly 3pm, the first bomb in Gwoza was detonated by a female suicide bomber in the midst of the marriage ceremony. It affected more than 30 persons with various levels of injuries and instant death.

“Some minutes later, another blast occurred around General Hospital.
“Again, at the funeral services (janaiza), another lady rushed into the congregation and detonated another bomb with a lot of casualties.
“When we were in the hospital coordinating the rescue mission, another one exploded from a female teenager.
“So far, 18 deaths comprising children, adult males, females, and pregnant women, have been recorded.
“Nineteen were seriously injured and were conveyed to Maiduguri in four ambulances; 23 are waiting for military escort in the Medical Regimental Services (MRS) Clinic.

“I am now coordinating for chopper tonight. I have mobilised emergency drugs to complement the shortage of drugs in Gwoza,” he added.
According to him, the degree of injuries ranges from abdominal raptures, skull fractures, to limb fractures.
Saidu added that he also received a report that there was a suspected suicide bomber in Pulka.
In his reaction, the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu Timta, also confirmed that the attacks were carried out at various locations, including wedding receptions and a burial ceremony in the town.

He said: “The entire Gwoza council area is in serious mourning following multiple suicide attacks on our community.
“The first suicide attack was masterminded by an unidentified woman who sneaked with two children into a wedding reception of a popular young man in Gwoza; she detonated her Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) killing herself and many people.
“Few minutes after, another suicide bomber sneaked into a burial ceremony at the nearby and detonated Improvised Explosive Devices, and as I am talking to you now, the third explosion just occurred few minutes ago with more casualties.
“At least, over 100 people were injured, and most of them who sustained serious injuries have been rushed to Maiduguri with military escort for proper medical attention.

“This is just a preliminary confirmation, as details of the casualties are still yet unknown, but I will keep you posted on any development.”

It is believed that the death toll might have risen to 30 deaths as the coordinated attacks which took place on Saturday afternoon caused pandemonium as people had to scamper for safety.
Reliable sources within Gwoza told journalists that: “More than 30 innocent civilians were killed with over 100 sustaining various degree of injuries, even as many of the victims have been evacuated to Maiduguri for medical attention.”

Also reacting to the incidents, the member representing Gwoza/Chibok/Damboa Federal Constituency, Ahmed Usman Jaha, sympathised with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the multiple attacks, even as he prayed Allah to grant the souls of the deceased Aljannatul Firdaus, and wished those who sustained injuries quick recovery.
An eyewitness, who simply identified himself as Musa, said on the phone that the first suicide bomber targeted a wedding ceremony.
Another witness, Ibrahim Dogo, said:  “Everywhere was thrown into panic as people had to run for cover,” adding that, “the serenity of the town was disturbed as we heard a very loud sound of explosives, accompanied with dust; then we saw bodies on the ground.”

Dogo noted that they were still in shock to take stock of the number of people that were affected by the attack.
He said several victims were evacuated to the hospital while security agencies were deployed to condone the area.
However, the state Commissioner of Police (CP), Yusuf Lawal, who confirmed the attack on wedding ceremony to journalists in the state, stated that it was carried out by a female suicide bomber.

Lawal said he was informed by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Gwoza, that at least six people were killed with 15 others evacuated to the hospital.
In a related development, some IDPs from Gwoza, who were relocated to Yola, Adamawa State capital at the peak of the attacks on Gwoza about nine years ago, have pleaded that they should not be compelled to return to the town, requesting that they should be assisted to settle in the Adamawa State capital.

Michael Olugbode

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