Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi and Daji Sani in Yola
In what is clearly an escalation of its murderous activities, the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, on Friday carried out more attacks in the North-east targetting Azare, the headquarters of Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State, bombing a first generation bank in the town. About 14 people were feared killed while scores were injured.
The bomb blast in Azare came on the same day the sect entered Hong Local Government Area of Adamawa State and overran Gashala Village, killing four people in the process.
The tragic incident in Azare occurred in the early hours of Friday. Sources said customers believed to be mainly civil servants were on the queue at the bank’s ATM machine when a bomb was detonated by the suspected terrorists.
The source said 14 people died instantly while scores were critically injured.
An eyewitness added: “The hoodlums initially disguised as normal bank customers who had come to join the queue to withdraw money, but before we knew what was happening, the suspects detonated a bomb.”
The source added that the bombers came in a Hilux vehicle.
“As I am talking to you right now, I have counted about 14 corpses. 27 others are on the ground injured. There is no rescue team around,” a source told journalists by telephone few minutes after the attack.
The bomb blast caused pandemonium in the town, with several people running in different directions for safety.
Traders and shop owners hurriedly shut their shops while economic activities were grounded. Commercial vehicles also withdrew from the streets.
A source at the Federal Medical Centre confirmed that about 14 corpses were brought to the hospital while about 27 critically injured ones are currently under medication.
According to another source, some of the victims were civil servants from neigbouring states like Yobe and Jigawa who withdraw their salaries in Azare.
Azare town is about the busiest commercial area in Bauchi State aside Bauchi metropolis.
However, with the emergence of Boko Haram, the town had suffered untold hardship with series of attacks thereby reducing the number of banks in the town.
As at press time, the Bauchi State Police Command’s spokesman, DSP Mohammed Haruna, was not available for comments on the attack. The state’s government had equally not issued any official statement on the bomb attack.