Maiduguri — Four people were killed yesterday afternoon as a result of pandemonium at Lawan Bukar Ward in Maiduguri metropolis when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeted at a military patrol vehicle exploded.
Residents said the bomb was thrown at a moving patrol vehicle and shortly thereafter, vehicles loaded with men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) mobilized to the scene and launched manhunt of the suspects.
An officer of the Nigerian Red Cross in Maiduguri who does not want to be quoted because he was not authorized to speak told newsmen that four people were killed during a gun duel and their corpses have been taken to a hospital.
“I am not in the position to tell you who and who died or how they died,” the officer said, when asked whether the victims were military men or civilians. He did not also say whether they died as a result of the blast or where shot.
Our correspondent reports that hundreds of residents of Lawan Bukar and the adjoining Mafoni and Hausari area, all densely populated settlements fled from their residents even as some people alleged “brutalization” by the military operatives, who according to them cordoned off the area.
“As I am talking to you now, many houses are on fire and our wives and children are crying,” Babagana Ari, a resident said.
But a press statement released by the spokesman of the JTF Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa which confirmed the blast indicated that it was the fire from the explosive device that ignited fire on houses in the area.
According to the statement, “At about 1330 hrs hours (1.30pm), a failed attempt was made to throw an IED at JTF troops on routine patrol in Maiduguri metropolis by suspected Boko Haram members. The IED missed the patrol team and exploded at Lawan Bukar Junction. “The explosion damaged some houses in the area. No casualty was recorded. The area has been cordoned off and search is going on at the moment with a view to apprehending the culprits. A suspect in a Honda Accord car, ‘End of Discussion’, navy blue has been arrested,” the statement said.