The typical peace of Easter Sunday was jarred by the blast from a bomb detonated by a suicide bomber at the Junction Road/Sardauna Crescent, near the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in the city of Kaduna in Kaduna state, Nigeria
A spokesman for the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said that about 36 people were killed In the explosion. He said, ‚ÄĚWe have seven persons at Rakiya Memorial Hospital, out of which five died while the remaining two were transferred to 44 Army Reference Hospital. At the Army Reference Hospital, 20 people were seriously injured. Another 10 victims were taken to St Gerald Hospital; five have died while the remaining five were seriously injured"
‚ÄúAt Barau Dikko Hospital, we have six dead, six injured. Twenty people died on the spot while on the whole 36 are dead and 13 are seriously injured.‚ÄĚ
The Kaduna State Police confirmed the explosion and said that the bomber was heading to Kakuri and Sabon Tashe areas in the southern part of Kaduna state when the bomb exploded at the Junction /Sardauna Crescent. The Kaduna State Police commissioner said, ‚ÄúThe situation report indicated that today, April 8, 2012 at about 8:45hours, intelligence report received said two suspected vehicles heading towards Kakuri / Sabon Tasha axis exploded while on transit."
‚ÄúThe two vehicles were pursued by Detective corporal Francis Marcus, and then suddenly one of the vehicles hit the other, thereby causing a serious bomb explosion between the two vehicles on Junction Road by Sardauna Crescent in Kaduna.
‚ÄúThe bomb explosion was massive which resulted in the death of the suicide bomber and 5 persons with 16 injured victims who were passers-by. Police and other security agencies are investigating the issue and final report will soon be made public."
However, eyewitnesses say that just before the explosion, the car had tried to get into some churches, All Nations Christian Assembly and the ECWA Good News Church, which are close to the scene of the explosion, but the driver was not able to get past a blockade that had been setup by the Police.
Most people suspect that the churches, which were badly damaged by the bomb, were the bomber's target. A paster of one of the churches said, ‚ÄúWe were in the holy communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church."
Also, a security man at one of the churches, spoke to journalists and told them how the bomber had attempted to enter the church premises. He said, ‚ÄúIt was about 10 am when I saw a man coming to this street, and said he wanted to pass. I told him that he cannot pass because the church service was going on, we don‚Äôt normally allow cars to pass when service is going on because of the insecurity in the area. I advised him to pass after the church service. He insisted that he was going to his house. Then I said which of the houses are you talking about? He pointed at that upstairs building.
And I know so many people in the house, but not him and the car, I didn‚Äôt recognize his face because I work here every Sunday. I didn‚Äôt recognize his face. I stopped him from passing through the street then he pointed at another house, saying that, that was where he wanted to go. He came through Arochukwu Road at about 9.45am in a ash-coloured Honda Accord car.
I told him that he cannot pass through here. He said I was stopping him from his rights for not allowing him to go to his house. I asked him to wait till after church service before he could pass, but he insisted that he must pass. We argued for some minutes, then he entered the car and reversed and drove towards me. Yet I stood my ground and held the iron which we used for the road block and he hit the iron.
‚ÄúLuckily enough, one of my church members came with his motorcycle and helped me. Then we noticed that the man was having an army uniform on the back seat of his car, and an army cap by the rear wind screen. Then I told him that as an Army officer for him to behave that way, ‚Äėyou are a disgrace to the Army. You are misbehaving.
‚ÄúAs we were talking, the police men that were posted to the church saw what was happening between me and the man. They walked over and helped me to drive the man away. But within three to five minutes, we heard the explosion across the road, along Junction Road. It was the same car that came here.‚ÄĚ
After the explosion, the area, which is usually packed with people who gather to eat at restaurants and buy black market gasoline, was littered with burnt motorcycles and debris from the explosion. The force of the blast blew out the windows of nearby hotels.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Boko Haram, a religous group that has has been attacking Christians and Muslims in Northern Nigeria was immediately suspected as being responsible . On Christmas day, 2011, Boko Haram deteonated a bomb at St. Theresa‚Äôs Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, and about 46 people were killed.