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Bomb explosions in Kaduna, four feared dead

Posted by From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna on 2005/02/24 | Views: 2560 |

Bomb explosions in Kaduna, four feared dead

KADUNA metropolis was thrown into panic yesterday night as a series of bomb explosions at the Dalet Barracks destroyed property worth billions of naira, while four people were feared dead.

KADUNA metropolis was thrown into panic yesterday night as a series of bomb explosions at the Dalet Barracks destroyed property worth billions of naira, while four people were feared dead.

The explosion, reminiscent of the 2002 Ikeja Cantonment incident in Lagos, occurred at the Central Military Ammunition Depot at the Dalet Barracks (First Mechanised Division, Nigeria Army) at about 6.30p.m. when thousands of its residents began to run into safety.

A thick cloud of smoke was noticed some kilometres away from the barracks, amid explosions, which also made residents of other areas in the metropolis panic.

Among property lost to the explosions were residential quarters and offices, particularly the computer section in the barracks, which was gutted.

Those who spoke with The Guardian included the residents of Dalet Barracks who evacuated their belongings while they recounted the impact of the explosions.

One of the residents said: "Our area is on fire in the barracks. Please, help us. I cannot find my children now. There are dead bodies along some streets in the barracks."
Another resident, Malam Yinusa Wale, said: "I counted four bodies in the barracks as we were trying to run for our lives."
But armed soldiers drafted to the main entrance to the barracks barred people from entering.

However, Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Police Commissioner Yesufu Mohammed and the 41 Division Engineering Commander, Brigadier-General Augustine Ihejiraka made statewide television and radio broadcasts, urging Kaduna residents to be calm as the situation was being put under control.

Makarfi, who spoke at about 8 p.m., said: "There have been a series of explosions in Kaduna and this situation emanated as a result of the armoury in Dalet Barracks, Kaduna".

He said that there had "not been any reported cases of fatality."
The governor continued: "The explosion has receded and the fire services of the state, the Air Force and other friendly organisations have mobilised their forces to the environment to put out the fire and protect the people around there."
Makarfi said that military authorities had also mobilised their men "to evacuate unexploded ammunition."
Already, "the state Emergency Management Agency officials have used wisdom to clear the periphery of the area of residents and other commercial users," he said.

"It is our belief that the residents of Kaduna are not at risk as a result of this unfortunate incident. But, I will assure other agencies, like the military and the police that all steps are being taken to prevent any casualties as a result of these explosions that have taken place. At the moment, these explosions have receded, and arrangements are being made so that unexploded ammunition will be evacuated."
Makarfi warned trouble-makers not to exploit the tragedy to cause pandemonium in the state, saying: "No criminal activities will be tolerated as the army and the police are on ground to ensure that nobody takes advantage of the unfortunate incident."
In his address, Ihejiraka said: "The explosion is localised and it is from the central ammunition depot in Dalet Barracks.

"Lives and property of the people are not threatened as we have a joint patrol of the whole area to ensure that hoodlums don't take advantage."
The commissioner of police similarly said: "The situation that occurred this evening is nothing to worry about," stressing that his men had already secured the place.

"I want to use this opportunity to inform law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses in the state and their normal course of lives," he added.

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