Death Toll in Military Church Bombing Hits 30

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A hospital official yesterday said the death toll in the twin suicide bombings at the St Andrews Protestant Church inside the Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State has hit 30.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity at the base’s medical centre, was quoted by the AP as saying that at least 45 others were injured.

Contrary to hospital report, military authority, which said on Sunday that 11 people died, yesterday upgraded the death toll to 15.

The Commandant of the Command and Staff College, Air Vice Marshal Abdullahi Kureh, condemned the situation where “people who went to pray to God to give us peace were attacked by another group”, adding that security had been tightened to forestall another attack.

AVM Kureh decried the spate of attacks witnessed in various parts of the country, adding that no meaningful development could be achieved without peace.

Reports said Air Commodore Alechenu Ekagbo, the Director of the Air wing of the college, may have been affected by the explosion.

The officer, whose official residence is about 15 metres from the scene of the explosion, is said to be in a critical condition at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna.

Family sources said Commodore Ekagbo was resting when the bomb exploded, hitting his house, adding that he went into coma and was rushed to the hospital.

The source said: “We thought he was dead until we got the news this morning that he’s still alive but in critical condition.”

Another source said the officer may be flown abroad for better medical attention, “any time from now”.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said the dastardly acts should be condemned by all people of goodwill, precisely because they go against the core value of humanity enjoined by God.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, in Kaduna, the ACF said: “All those who take delight in taking the lives of innocent people, as their own way of addressing their concerns, should know they are chasing shadow.

“That is why they should lay down their arms and embrace dialogue as the only viable option to addressing their concerns towards peaceful coexistence.

“One way they can achieve this is to lay down their arms, approach their chosen Saudi authority to play some roles in any constructive engagement between them and the Nigerian government.

“If Saudi Arabia accepts to play any role, they would naturally link up with the Nigerian authority. Our heart goes to those who lost loved ones and those who got wounded by the attack. May God grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses and the means to replace losses many fold.”

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