Two female suicide bombers yesterday detonated explosives in an Eid praying ground in the Yobe state capital, leaving at least 50 worshipers dead and others injured.
The bombs went off about 8am at one of the Eid grounds located in an area called Phase-1 Secretariat along Damaturu-Maiduguri road.
43 persons died in the first explosion and seven others in the second explosion, suspected to have been caused by Boko Haram insurgents.
Several other people were also said to have sustained various degrees of injuries from the explosions.
The high presence of the military to forestall any security breach during the celebration and the presence of soldiers that greeted the arrival of Buratai did not discourage the suicide bombers from attacking the praying grounds.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman who confirmed this in a statement yesterday, said that the two suicide bomb explosions took place at about 7.40am.
According to Usman: “Two female suicide bombers; an elderly woman and a 10 year old girl detonated devices at screening areas mounted by the security for intending Muslim worshippers at Layin Gwange, Damaturu and at Phase One, in front of former State Secretariat Complex, Damaturu.
“43 persons died in the first explosion and several people injured, while seven people lost their lives in the second explosion.”
Surprisingly, Usman issued another statement later in the day to revise downward the casualty figures to 11.
Sources however said the first figure of 50 killed was the authentic one and that the figure was deliberately revised downward for political reasons.
The Army spokesman stated that troops and security agencies responded immediately to the incidents to bring the situation under control.
Usman assured that the situation was currently under control and that Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State and the Chief of Army Staff, have sympathised with the victims and the people of the state. He urged residents to stay calm and be security conscious at all times.
Usman added: “No amount of terrorist acts would deter our resolve to stamp out terrorism in our fatherland.”
But the early morning bomb blasts did not affect Eid- prayers in Damaturu as hundreds of Muslim worshippers were still at various prayer grounds to thank Allah for the success of the Ramadan fast.
This latest dastardly act in Damaturu brings to 100, the number of those killed since the new Chief of Army Staff took over few days ago and over 700 since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.
Friday’s attacks came barely 24hours after the bombings at Gombe Central Market in which over 50 people were also killed.