By Abdulkareem Haruna
At least four persons were killed and eight others injured as two suicide bombers attacked a mosque in Bama town of Borno State in the early hours of Sunday, officials have said.
The attack comes about three weeks after the Borno State Government sanctioned the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the badly destroyed community which was reclaimed from the Boko Haram.
The Sunday attack was the first since the return of Bama IDPs. But it has rekindled public concern on the security around the community, the second largest in Borno State after Maiduguri, the state capital.
Just before the IDPs were returned to Bama, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, was in Bama on a two days working visit.
During his stay in Bama, the military command there informed the governor that although the town has been secured, the security around it was “unpredictable.”
Notwithstanding the caution, the displaced persons, eager to return to their normal lives, were allowed to return to Bama.
The chairperson of the Borno State emergency management agency (SEMA), Yabawa Kolo, said four persons died and eight others were injured in the early Sunday morning attack. The dead included the two suicide bombers.
Earlier, sources from Bama who broke the news on social media indicated that the attackers were two young people, who sneaked into a mosque in the community during an early morning prayer.
One resident of Bama said the attack took place “at a mosque around BAMA Dina area of Shehuri /Mairi/ Hausari ward of Bama town.”
“The victims evacuated to military hospital for further treatment of serious injuries,” Abba Masta said.
“Serious emergency medical attention needed with possible need of transportation to secondary health facility in Maiduguri for the survivors,” Mr Masta, an active community leader in Bama, said.
He said medical services and facilities are still limited in the reclaimed town.
“Currently, no any ambulance in Bama to aid the transportation of the survivors. But we are currently making follow up to military 21 brigade for possible assistance,” he said.
In apparent confirmation of lack of essential facilities in Bama, the SEMA boss said all the casualties were later taken to Maiduguri special hospital for treatment.
The police, in a statement released on Sunday afternoon confirmed the attack and casualty.
“At about 5.40am of today, 2 female suicide bombers infiltrated into Ajilari area in Bama town, Bama LGA and launched a suicide bomb attack on residents observing morning (Asuba) prayers,” the police public relations officer, Edet Okon, said.
“They detonated the IEDs strapped to their bodies, killing themselves and two other male victims. Eight other persons were injured and were rushed to hospital for treatment.
“The corpses have also been evacuated. The Borno State Police Command had deployed men of the PMF and EOD personnel to render the area safe and return normalcy,” he said.
The police urged residents of the state to be vigilant, and at all times report suspicious persons to security agents.
The Chairman of the affected local government, Baba-Shehu Gulumba, explained that the incident occurred at about 5: 00 a.m., when Muslims faithful gathered for early morning prayers.
Mr Gulumba said that three persons died on the spot while one other died later at the Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri, adding that the wounded persons were also referred to the hospital for treatment.
The chairman noted that the state government, in collaboration with the military, police and other security agencies had deployed personnel and constructed trenches to fortify security in the town.
He said: “We restricted movement from 6 : 30 pm in the town and called on people to abide by the restriction order.”
Mr Gulumba stressed the readiness of the government to continue with the resettlement exercise, noting that the attack would not affect its implementation.
Suicide bombings is one of the strategies of the extremist Boko Haram group who clamour for an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria.
The group has been largely decimated by government forces but is still able to carry out attacks, mainly on soft targets in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.