the killng of a police officer as he was trying to disarm an explosive at unguwar Sarki Kaduna.A bomb disposal policeman was killed yesterday in Kaduna when an explosive device he was trying to defuse went off an hour after a blast near the Sultan Bello mosque. The device was wrapped in a polythene bag and hidden behind an electricity pole in the residential area of Unguwar Sarki.
Witnesses said the first explosion at about 10.40am attracted police bomb disposal squad, soldiers and other security operatives, who cordoned off the area, as people also gathered to see what happened.
About an hour after, a suspicious polythene bag was noticed abandoned near an electric pole in the vicinity.
“The bomb disposal officers shot severally at the bag, but nothing happened. Then, one of the mobile policemen went to open the bag to ascertain its content, and the bomb exploded, shattering him into pieces,” witness Sale Shehu said.
Decapitated parts of the dead policeman, whose name was given as Sergeant Sunday Badang, were strewn on the tarred road just by the place where the explosive was planted.
Daily Trust reporters and photographer narrowly escaped the second blast as they were on the scene covering the first blast when the second explosion occurred.
The head of Security Joint Task Force, otherwise called Operation Yaki in the state, Col. Dangana Mamman, was injured in one of the explosions.
Mamman, who was first taken to the 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna, was later transferred to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria later in the afternoon.
At least one other person was also injured in the blasts.
The deafening sound that followed the explosions made people to run for safety. It also shook buildings in the area, including the Sultan Bello mosque.
“There were some programmes taking place at the nearby Arewa House. The blasts made participants to abandon the venue and run away,” Shehu said.
After the incident, military and police personnel combed the area yesterday searching for more explosives.
Motorists plying the Ali Akilu Road were diverted to Rabah Road to allow for the search.
A police chopper was also seen hovering over the Unguwan Sarki area of the city.
Onlookers who besieged the scene of the two blasts believed that the explosives were not targeted at the Sultan Bello mosque but at a security check point just opposite the scene of the incident.
Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Ballah M. Nasarawa, said at a news conference that the two blasts at Unguwar Sarki bus stop happened respectively at about 10.45am and 11.40am.
He said the first improvised explosive device exploded in a gutter near a parked 15-seater Ford bus but nobody was affected by it.
“While the second explosion occurred when a police anti-bomb personnel, Sergeant Sunday Badang, was about to detonate the explosive and it killed him instantly.
“The fragments of the explosion affected two other persons near the scene and were rushed to 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna for treatment. After the explosions, the area was swept by the police anti-bomb squad and no other explosive device was detected,” Nasarawa said.
He said security has been further beefed up in the entire state. The CP also urged members of the public to report any suspicious object to security agencies and to avail the police with credible information that will help tackle criminal activities.
“The public can always reach the police on the following hotlines for quick action: 08123822284, 07039675856 and 08081708671. No arrest has been made yet,” Nasarawa said.
In his reaction, Governor Patrick Yakowa, through his spokesman Reuben Buhari, said the state government was shocked by the news of the blasts.
“Kaduna State governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, condoles with the Inspector General of Police, the CP Kaduna State and the family of the policeman who died while trying to defuse a bomb planted at Unguwar Sarki. The heroics of the policeman is commendable, as he died trying to save innocent lives.
“Also, the general public is advised on the dangers of gathering at the scene of any bomb blast as the area may not be safe for onlookers. The government is also appealing to people to co-operate with security agencies by reporting any auspicious movement or characters,” Yakowa said.