The Joint Security Task Force has confirmed the deaths of two suicide bombers who attacked Airtel and MTN Telecommunications offices in Kano metropolis on Saturday. The Airtel regional office is located at the popular Malam Kato Square, near the Main branch of a bank while the MTN office is situated at Maimalari road in Bompai area.
The JTF spokesman, Capt. Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the death of the bombers to newsmen in Kano on Saturday. Iweha said the first bomber who went to Airtel office succeeded in detonating the bomb which led to the destruction of the office. He said that only the operator of the company’s generator set was injured in the attack which took place at about 8.45 a.m.
"With the exception of the two bombers, nobody else died in the two coordinated incidents," Iweha said.
Iweha said the bomber who went to the MTN office was intercepted by security operatives before he could gain entry into the premises at about 8.50 a.m, adding that he died in the blast instantly.
"The quick response of the troops around the place averted the destruction of the office but the wall fence was touched in the coordinated attack."
He said that security had been beefed up around the two areas with a view to enhancing security.
However, an eyewitness says on condition of anonymity: "We just heard the loud sound of the explosion at the Airtel office around 8.35 a.m. and immediately after the blast the place was engulfed in flames."
NAN reports that following the incident, traders around the area quickly locked their shops and ran for safety.
Spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency Yushau Shuaib reported the attacks on India's Bharti Airtel office in Mallam Kato Square and South Africa's MTN headquarters located in the Mai Malari area of the metropolis, but could not immediately give the number of casualties.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks.
How It All Began:
Two suicide bombers drove a rigged car into the Airtel offices and MTN headquarters in Kano before exploding early morning today, killing a yet to identified number of people.
A source close to joint security forces in the state says that one suicide bomber hit the premises of Airtel on Mallam Kato Square at Central business district in the commercial city, killing one unidentified person.
"Its impact has affected Singer market which has now been closed down by the joint security forces," he added.
Bayo Osho, an Airtel staff who survived the attack, said two suicide bombers in separate cars carried out the attack.
He said the first car rammed the gate before a second car, laden with explosives, drove into the building. The driver of the second car then came out and exchanged gunfire with the security personnel before the explosives went off.
Sources also confirmed that another suicide bomber hit the MTN headquarters at Post Office Road about 30 minutes after the attack on Airtel’s office.
The area is now completely surrounded by the Joint Task Force (JTF) and movement is restricted in the environ.
However, reports indicate that the attack was unsuccessful as the car exploded outside the building.
According to sources, the switch at Bompai controls MTN network in 13 states while that of Airtel attacked earlier controls network in 7 states.
Already, subscribers on the Airtel network are experiencing network disruption even as security personnel have been dispatched to other masts and switches in anticipation of further attacks.
The suicide bombers who attacked the Airtel office can be confirmed dead according to security sources.
JTF spokesman in the city, Captain Ikediche Iweha said, "Some criminals want to unsettle everybody, but we are in control of the situation."
However, there are reports that there is security alert in the city with the emergence of more check points, especially in vulnerable areas where there are high concentration of churches.
The spokesman also said that generator operator with the Airtel was injured and is on admission at an undisclosed hospital.
Iweha explained that troops located along the MTN switch foiled the attack, adding that the explosion affected a car parked closed to the scene.
The MTN switch located off independent way by Mailari at Bomapai industrial estate serves 13 states in the North.