As Kaduna sought to recover from the suicide bombing of St. Rita Catholic Church, the fear of reprisals and anxiety paralysed social and economic activities in the city. Our correspondent who went round the city said traders refused to open shops while buyers stayed away from markets.
Eight worshippers were killed and over 100 injured in the suicide bombing which took place on Sunday. In the aftermath of the bombing, a mob believed to be Christian, reportedly carried out reprisals killing seven persons. Although the Kaduna State Government sought to debunk reports that there were killings, residents who were afraid that youths from both religions could cause mayhem stayed at home.
Some schools in the city were also shut while activities were reportedly low key at higher institutions like the Kaduna State University and the Kaduna Polytechnic.
The AFP reported that soldiers patrolled the streets and mounted checkpoints where passers-by and motorists were frisked. Residents said that roadblocks were mounted around the scene of the blast and two volatile communities of Goni-Gora and Tudun-Wada.
“There has been heavy military deployment since yesterday following the attack. This morning (Monday) two armoured personnel carriers and more troops arrived in these areas,” said Emmanuel Mayaki, a resident of Goni-Gora.
Military spokesman Colonel Sani Usman told AFP the heavy presence of troops was “to restore law and order.”
Christian mobs had roamed the area near the church in the Malali neighbourhood on Sunday after the attack, targeting people they presumed to be Muslims, including one man who was burnt alive.
Another resident, Mr Bako Sunday, had told the News Agency of Nigeria that tension had heightened in the city.
“We are afraid of further violence by irate youths because we have yet to fully recover from the June bomb-blast reprisals,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director of the Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital, Dr. Baduku Tokan, on Monday said 38 out of the 97 victims brought to the hospital after the terror attack were children. He also told Governor Patrick Yakowa, who visited the hospital, that four of the victims had died.
Tokan said, “About 97 people were presented yesterday (Sunday) and many of them were treated. And as I said earlier, 40 per cent of the total number (97) were children. But many were stable and they went back home.
“About 25 people were admitted and we have four corpses in this centre. We don’t know of other centres. Two people were operated yesterday (Sunday) and as you see them now, they are stable. Right now, we have 25 people on admission and everybody looks stable.
“We thank God. If you compare the number of people that came yesterday (Sunday) and those that died, we appreciate God that the casualty figure was not as bad as we thought it was going to be.”
He commended the International Red Cross Society for assisting the victims, adding that 30 medical doctors mobilised for the treatment of victims of the attack.
Our correspondent, who went round the Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital and other hospitals where victims were taken to, observed that at the St. Gerard Catholic Hospital, of the 14 victims admitted on the day of the attack, two had been discharged.
Out of the 35 victims received at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, three had died. At the Garkuwan Hospital where 14 victims were admitted, one died while six were treated and discharged.
Only the Parish Priest, Reverend Father Mathew Bonny, was admitted at the high brow Multi-Clinic in Ungwan Rimi, Kaduna. He too, was said to be responding to treatment.
The National Emergency Management Agency confirmed that some of the victims taken to the various hospitals in the state were responding to treatment.
The agency, in a statement by Baba Ali, noted that over 20 people had been discharged from the hospitals.
Yakowa sought divine intervention on the spate of bombings in the state and parts of the North. Yakowa, who just returned from his investment drive to Japan, was moved to tears when he saw victims of the blast in the hospital.
A three-year-old boy caught his attention. He was in great pain. All the boy kept saying to his grandmother was ‘malt’, a request the governor quickly granted. Within minutes, a bottle of malt drink was brought to him.
As the little boy was sipping the malt drink amid pains, Yakowa and the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese, Kaduna, Bishop Mathew Ndagoso, offered prayers for him.
The governor warned that if the people of the North fail to halt the incessant terrorist attacks on the region, it would face retrogression in terms of development soon.
At the Government House, Yakowa said that the acts of terrorism in the North had been a great setback to the region.
“Let us all join hands in bringing an end to this act of terrorism. We must bring an end to the destruction of life and property of innocent Nigerians. For me, I feel so sad each time this thing happens and this is a very sad moment for me; but we thank God because it could have been worse.
“We must all join hands and ensure that we expose and flush out these evil people among us. All these challenges will not distract us from developing the state.
“Never in the history of the state have we faced these challenges, but we remain unshaken. We remain focused and determined to succeed in ensuring quality life for our people.”
Also, Ndagoso, who spoke at the media briefing was full of appreciation to the state government for footing the hospital bills of all those who were being treated in the hospitals.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, on Monday expressed shock over the Sunday terror attack on the church.
The Sultan, who is the President-General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, in a statement by the Secretary-General of the organisation, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, said, “It is our prayer that the perpetrators behind the act will never succeed in causing chaos in Kaduna.
“However, we implore the security agents to be more vigilant and intensify measures at curbing this dastardly act of bombings. As for those affected, we pray for a better return of what they have lost and the families of those who lost their lives, may Allah grant them fortitude to bear the loss.”