By Edegbe Odemwingie, Midat Joseph, and Najib Sani, 24 September 2012
Barely one week after unknown gunmen attacked the Unguwar Zango area of the Bauchi metropolis and killed about nine people; three people were also killed yesterday while 46 others were injured when a suicide bomber attacked St John’s Catholic Church, near Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.
The deputy police public relations officer of the state command, Mr Hassan Muhammad Auyo, confirmed the incident, saying the suicide bomber stormed the church around 9am when the worshippers were departing after completing their morning service.
He explained that the attacker, who came in an Opel Vectra car, could not get access into the church but hit the barricade at the church’s gate killing two people coming out from the place of worship and injuring 46 others.
Auyo, who stated that two policemen deployed by the command to protect the church during the Sunday service were also injured, added that they were evacuated to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, for treatment.
But eyewitnesses told LEADERSHIP that those injured as a result of the dastardly act included passersby and achaba (motorbike) riders. Sports men and women undergoing training at the stadium close to the scene scampered to safety when the bomb detonated.
The terrorist act attracted a large crowd from across the state capital. Security operatives cordoned off the area just as relatives of the victims trooped to identify their loved ones.
When contacted, the chief medical director of ATBUTH, Dr Muhammad Alkali, told LEADERSHIP that the number of casualties was not known, but said that the victims were currently being attended to by his medical staff.
The chairman of the state emergency operation team, Alhaji Inuwa Bello, said the team members reported immediately to the scene when they got information about the event, adding that they had so far taken three corpses to the mortuary.
Reacting to the development, the chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Lawi Pokti, condemned the attack, describing it as despicable and ungodly.
He urged religious leaders to preach the gospel of peace and tolerance to their subjects so that the current killings of innocent souls could be stopped in the country.
Pokti also appealed to the Christian faithful in the state to remain calm, stressing that it was wrong for the people to take law into their hands, “for vengeance is the Lord’s”.
Also, the Bauchi State government through the chief press secretary to Governor Isa Yuguda, Mr. Ishola Michael Adeyemi, condemned the attack, saying it was unfortunate.
He commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives and wished the injured persons quick recovery, assuring that security measures would be intensified to avoid recurrence.
Government, he promised, would do everything possible to assist and bring succour to the victims and their families, even as he urged people in the state to remain law-abiding.
The police command in Bauchi State said that the explosion at St John’s Catholic Church, Bauchi, killed three persons, including the suicide bomber.
We surrender to God – Northern CAN
The northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday told Christians in the region to surrender everything to God after the current bombings of church.
The northern CAN described the bombing of the church as a test of faith.
The spokesman of the CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe, told LEADERSHIP on phone that the state should ensure adequate security of life and property
“We condemn this in strong terms. We call on the Christians in the north to fervently pray against the attack. We want to ask that the government of the state should protect lives in the state,” he said.
He added, “Christians should look up to God, because vengeance is of God. We are not comfortable with the killing of Christians, but we leave everything to God. He has not failed us and will not fail us.”
Bauchi attack wicked – Tambuwal
Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has described yesterday’s suicide attack on St. John’s Catholic Church in Bauchi as “ignoble, wicked and horrendous”.
Tambuwal urged Nigerian security agencies to consolidate on gains recorded lately in the fight against terror so as to protect the citizens.
Tambuwal urged them to ensure that the perpetrators of the violent act are brought to justice.
The speaker condoled with victims of the terrorist bombing and urged Nigerians to be more prayerful and provide useful information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators and their sponsors, if any.