Female suicide bombers kill 26 in Zaria, Kano
• Kaduna bans street begging, hawking
WHAT began as a routine screening for workers of Sabongari Local Council of Zaria State yesterday, ended in blood and tears when a suspected female teenage suicide bomber struck, killing about 25 people, including a two-year old child.
Also yesterday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up while apparently targeting the hugely popular Umar Bin Khattab mosque on Zaria road, Dangi Roundabout, in the Kano metropolis.
Plateau State was not spared the bloodshed as 14 persons have been killed by unknown gunmen at Sho village in Barkin Ladi Local Council of the state.
The gunmen stormed the communities at about 12 noon yesterday and started shooting innocent citizens of the state.
Member representing Barkin Ladi constituency in the State House of Assembly, Peter Gyendeng called on the Federal Government to do everything possible to nip in the bud the activities of terrorists in the country.
In a swift reaction to the bombing in Zaria, the Kaduna State government has banned street begging and hawking by traders, saying that all security measures to guard the lives and properties of citizens would be enforced in the state.
The government also commended the people for promptly embracing the crucial necessity of being vigilance and paying attention to security matters.
In a statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mallam Samuel Aruwan, the government said: “All beggars and hawkers are to stay off the streets until further notice. Any beggar or hawker found on the streets will be arrested, until these measures are relaxed.”
Also, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has condemned the continuous attacks on places of worship by members of the Boko Haram sect.
And in a move meant to check escalating violence that seems to be spreading in the North, the Federal Government has met with some state governors to address the growing security concerns even as a full military operation may be adopted to end cattle rustling in the country.
A press statement signed by the PFN President, Rev Felix Omobude and made available to journalists in Benin City yesterday, said that places of worship are sacred and peaceful where worshippers have fellowship with their creator (God), noting that attacking such holy places is ungodly and should not continue.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase has ordered command commissioners of Police to strengthen security around worship centres, even as street hawking within the Abuja metropolis is banned.
In a late statement issued Monday night by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer (DFPRO), Abayomi Shogunle, Arase also said security should also be provided where Muslims break their fast regularly.
The victims of the Zaria suicide bombing were mostly civil servants undergoing screening and audit as directed by the state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai to fish out ghost workers.
According to the eyewitness, the teenage suicide bomber managed to sneak into and mingle with the crowd of anxious council workers before detonating the explosives which were strapped on her body.
Immediately after the blast, the road leading to the secretariat was cordoned off by armed security men, while Red Cross and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) officials were busy conveying corpses and victims to hospitals.
The workers were from Kubau, Lere, Kauru and Sabon Gari councils.
El-Rufai visited the scene shortly after, saying that government will do everything in its power to expose those behind the unfortunate incident and their sponsors and bring them to book.
Aruwan’s statement said: “The casualty count as at 12 noon is 25 fatalities, including a two-year old child,” adding that “32 injured persons are being treated at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria and other hospitals in the city.”
The state Police Commissioner Usman Umar Shehu said the dead included the female bomber.
Confirming the Kano blast, the State Police Public Relations Officer Magaji Musa Majiya, an Assistant Superintendent said: “A suicide bomber was on her way to the mosque when she blew herself up at a very close range to the mosque.”
According to him, there was no other casualty apart from the suicide bomber herself.
The PFN statement while condemning attacks on places of worship whether Christian or Moslem also, warned the “masterminds, their collaborators and sponsors to desist from such dastardly acts in order not to continue to incur the wrath of God.”
The PFN called on the Federal Government to continue the fight against insurgency with more vigour and to remain steadfast in the protection of lives and property of all Nigerians.
In his statement, the IGP, mandated State Command Commissioners of Police to strengthen security at all mosques, churches and other worship centres across the country.
“Adequate security has also been ordered for venues where Moslems break fast in the evenings. Worshipers are advised to be vigilant, and promptly report to the Police any suspicious persons or substance found in or around their environ