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25.12.2010 Nigeria

Christmas Eve bomb blasts claim six in Jos

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It was a bloody Christmas Eve yesterday in Jos, Plateau State, as at least six persons were confirmed dead and several others seriously injured in different explosions which occurred at around the same time (7.35 pm) in four different locations of the city.

Unsuspecting worshippers who had gone to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Kabon, for the Christmas Eve service were rather unfortunate as one of the explosions occurred close to the church, leaving an unconfirmed number of people dead and many others injured.

Sources living close to the church told THISDAY that at approxiamately the same time when they were battling to evacuate those injured in the explosion, there were two other explosions at the Kabon Satellite Market and the recently commissioned Goodluck Jonathan flyover at Gada-biu area of Jos North Local Government Area of the state, leaving more people injured.

It was reliably gathered that those affected at Kabon and Gada-biu were people who were returning from Christmas shopping.

Also, sources confirmed that most of the affected areas where the explosions took place are predominantly Christian areas.

But just as security operatives were trying to restore calm and ensure the safety of the people affected in Gada-biu, a fourth bomb exploded at Angwan Rukuba in the same Jos North Local Government Area, leading to total pandemonium in the city.

Residents were seen running helter-skelter trying to seek shelter in their homes and other safe locations.The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdulrahman Akano, who confirmed the unfortunate incidents, said that from the field reports at his disposal, the seven people who were injured from the blasts were recuperating at Jos University Teaching Hospital. He added that combined team of Special Task Force and the police were already in the affected areas to help victims.

The State Commissioner of Information, Mr. Gregory Yenlong, who condemned the blasts, described it as a barbaric act at such a time that Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

He said the explosion confirmed rumours of the plan to disrupt Christmas celebrations in the state, adding that the state government will get to the root of the matter. While condoling with the affected persons, Yenlong appealed for calm, advising residents to be vigilant.

According to him, β€œthe government condemns the blast in strong terms.” He said that the target of the blasts was the newly constructed flyover and the satellite market which were recently commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Also, sources in the Plateau State Government blamed the federal government for the bombings yesterday, stating that the former state police commissioner redeployed three weeks ago, had fully settled down and should not have left the state.

They alleged that the new commissioner, Akano, is yet to settle down or understand the fragility of the terrain.

As a result, the sources said his lack of knowledge of the environment had now been exploited by those who don't want peace to return to Jos.

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