Eleven persons have been killed while 28 others sustained various degrees of injuries Friday evening at Peoples Hotel, Bayan Gari, Bauchi, when a bomb detonated, just as one of the suspects was arrested.
Briefing newsmen in his office, Commissioner of Police, Bauchi State Command, Lawal Shehu, said the explosive device used was not a highly sophisticated one.
Shehu said: “At about 9:30pm Friday, there was an explosion at Bayan Gari area of Bauchi. Eleven persons were confirmed dead while 28others sustained various degrees of injuries.
“Victims were rushed to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) for treatment and copses were evacuated to mortuary”.
He said the entire surrounding has been cordoned off and scene secured by Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit (EOD).
The Police commissioner further disclosed that one suspect had been arrested in connection with the bombing, adding that effort was being intensified to arrest other fleeing suspects.
He also urged members of the general public to be security conscious within their physical and social environment by paying special attention to persons and objects, particularly at motor parks, markets places, schools, places of worship, and shopping malls.
Others are eateries, hotels and offices, saying people should report suspicious persons and objects within their neighbourhood to the nearest police station or call these numbers: 08151849417, 0701349795, adding that this would enable the police serve the society better.
Meanwhile, an eyewitness, Mallam Ahmed Maidoki told NAN that five persons in military uniform carried out the attack by detonating explosives and shooting at random.
“We were just sitting down, watching highlights of the ongoing FIFA world cup at the viewing centre located in between the two story building of the hotel when five men dressed in military uniform strolled in.
“We thought they were security personnel, who came to relax as well. I noticed they all positioned themselves at the four corners of the hall.
“The next thing I heard was an explosion, after which the arena was covered with thick smoke. Shivering, my friends and I sprawled on the ground.
“We were trying to get out when the five men started shooting sporadically at any one who tried to stand up, and in the process, killing many of the survivors of the blast’’, he said.
Another eyewitness, Usman Hassan, said he was just about to enter the hotel when the blast occurred and immediately ran away from the scene.
“As soon as I was a bit far from the scene, I heard gun-shots. Few minutes later, a white Toyota Hillux vehicle zoomed out of the hotel on high speed with men wearing army uniforms”, he said.
In the mean time, the Bauchi State Branch of the Nigerian Red Cross has condemned the attack, describing it as ‘barbaric and inhuman’.
The State’s Secretary, Mallam Mohammed Bashir, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that they received a call around 9.50 on Friday night, about the attack.
“Immediately I received the call, I and my men rushed to the scene to provide First Aid treatment to the victims.
“Afterwards, we, along with the State Emergency Management Agency, police, military and the SSS personnel, evacuated them to the hospital.
“We still carried out search and rescue operation at the scene this morning (Saturday) to ensure that every injured person was evacuated. It was a terrible experience,” Bashir added.