Jos blasts: Death toll rises

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Thirty-five more deaths have been recorded from the twin bomb blasts that rocked Jos, Plateau State capital on Tues­day, bringing the total casualty to 81 while the number of those injured is 82. Senate President David Mark yesterday urged Nigerians to be more vigilant and resolute in the war against terrorism.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Abubakar, the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, the Deputy Governor, Amb. Ignatius Longjan and a member of the House Assembly, Baba Hassan, visited the scene of the blasts and patients on admission in hospitals.

The IGP who said his visit was at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan, said he was sent to ascertain the level of destruction, assured that all the security operatives will unmask the culprits.

He urged the residents to remain calm and report all suspicious movements to security agencies.

The Chief Medical Director of Jos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Edmund Banwat, had informed the IGP that 22 bodies including two children were brought to the hospital while 48 injured victims were being treated.

Olakpe, had on Tuesday said 46 deaths were recorded at Plateau Specialist Hospital and Bingham University Teaching Hospital, popularly known as Jankwano while 45 were injured.

The Director of Nursing Services at the specialist hospital, Mr.Pwangyang Nash, told newsmen that 52 corpses were brought to the hospital while 38 people were admitted. Among the injured, 28 had been discharged. Two were in the Intensive Care, but shortly after he had briefed the press, one of them Murtala Baba, died.

Among those still on admission at the specialist hospital is 18 months old baby, Deborah, who was picked up at the scene of the explosions and reunited with her mother, Ruth in the hospital, both are receiving treatment there.

The other patient in the Intensive Care was simply described as Akusan, who was still unconsious at the time of the visit.

Meanwhile, Mark, while reacting to the twin bombings, urged Nigerians yesterday to be more vigilant and remain resolute in the fight against terrorists, assuring that government will not leave any stone unturned to guarantee security.

He said: “From the issue of kidnapping, now we are battling insurgency. This must stop. Nigeria needs peace; our children need to live better lives because nothing thrives well in a precarious environment. I want to assure Nigerians that we will not relent. With God on our side, this shall also come to pass.”

He also condoled with the state government, the victims and the families of those that were affected by the bomb blasts, praying God that such incident stops soon.

His Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, condemned the blasts, describing the incident as “callous and completely unacceptable” Ekweremadu, who stated this while decorating his personal orderly, Mr. Edward Utuh, with the rank of Police Inspector, commended the police force and other security agencies for their efforts at fighting terrorism.

He described the culture of bombing as “completely alien” to the country and called for united front against it.

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, described the attack as an act of cowardice that has no place in civilised societies.

He urged Nigerians not to despair, saying the current security challenges will soon end, while commiserating with the families of those who have lost loved ones in the attack. The Speaker prayed the Almighty God to bless the injured with speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, the senator representing Plateau South, Victor Lar, on Tuesday denied on the floor of the Upper Chamber, reports of reprisal attacks as a result of the blasts.

Lar, who raised a Point of Order, said: “I want to correct the news making the rounds of a reprisal attack as a result of the Tuesday bomb blasts, there is nothing like that. The Joint Task Force (JTF) has risen to the occasion and there is nothing like reprisal attacks…”

The senator who said he got in touch with the commander about two weeks ago, confirmed that his team had arrested three suspectswho had attempted to bomb Jos.

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