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  • on 27.04.2012
  • at 03:00 PM
  • by Randa Ghazy

Nigeria: media under siege as Boko Haram bombs Thisday, Sun, the Moment 0

For the first time since it began a series of deadly bomb attacks, the Boko Haram sect yesterday turned its attention to the media.

It unleashed a string of coordinated attacks on three media houses in Abuja and Kaduna, killing no fewer than nine people in the process.

The three media houses attacked by the bombers were the Abuja office of ThisDay Newspaper, and then The Sun and The Moment offices in Kaduna which were hit almost simultaneously by the blasts.

Hardest hit was ThisDay whose office in Jabi, Abuja, was almost brought down by the impact of the blast that swept through the area at about 11:03am.

Witnesses said that a suicide bomber forced his way through the back gate of the Jabi office of the media empire and rammed his black Isuzu Jeep into the main building housing the printing press and other facilities. Everything went up in flames, as the bomb went off.

The impact of the blast also destroyed nearby commercial and residential buildings and caused a major apprehension and confusion around the Jabi Motor Park, which is a major exit and landing point for commuters in the Federal Capital Territory. The park is directly opposite the attacked ThisDay building.

As the bomb went off, motorists, traders and passengers at the park as well as customers of the media house scampered for safety, especially as rumours spread that another blast was imminent with the sighting of a Toyota SUV similar to the one used by the bomber, left in front of the newspaper house.

Initially, journalists were barred from the scene of the blast by the combined team of riot policemen, anti-bomb disposal men and soldiers, who cordoned off the area right from Jabi junction.

ThisDay has, in a statement released yesterday, claimed that five people died during the incident, saying that the victims comprised the bomber, its security official and three passers-by.

A NEMA official in Kaduna, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the event, confided in our correspondents that four people died during the attack in Kaduna.

The evacuation and rescue operations were shielded from the press and the dead and injured taken away before journalists were allowed into the premises.

However, the group executive director of ThisDay, Ireogbu Israel, confirmed that the company’s security and support staff were mostly affected by the blast. Israel put the number of those killed at three and the wounded at six.

He said, “We have been able to identify some of the dead with their uniforms and have taken them to the mortuary. Those injured have also been taken to the hospital.”

The FCT police commissioner, Mr. Ade Sinaba, and the comptroller-general of the Federal Fire Service visited the scene of the blast and supervised the evacuation of the dead and the wounded.

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