LAGOS (AA) – Nigeria’s opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari said one of two blasts that rocked northwestern Kaduna State on Wednesday was an “assassination attempt” against him as the bombing apparently targeted his convoy as it was passing by in the restive state.
Buhari, who ruled Nigeria between 1983 and 1985 as a military leader, had been caught in the second blast which police say killed at least 15 people.
Twenty five others had earlier been confirmed dead in another blast targeting prominent Muslim Sufi cleric Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, who is also a fierce critic of Boko Haram militant group.
“I was personally involved in a clearly targeted bomb attack today at about 2:30pm on my way to Daura [in neighboring Katsina state where the general hails],” Buhari said in a statement.
“The unfortunate event, clearly an assassination attempt, came from a fast moving vehicle that made many attempt to overtake my security car, but was blocked by escort vehicle.”
Buhari said the bomber caught up with his convoy as they approached a market in Kawo, a boisterous area of the metropolitan Kaduna city – once the political capital of northern Nigeria.
“We reached the market area of Kawo where he took advantage of our slowing down and attempted to ram my car and instantly detonated the bomb which destroyed all the three cars in our convoy,” the general added.
“Unfortunately, when I came out of my vehicle, I saw many dead bodies littered around. They were innocent people going about their daily business who became victims of mass murder.
“Thank God for His mercy, I came out unhurt, but with three of my security staff sustaining minor injuries. They have since been treated in hospital and discharged.”
His comments came as Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the “dastardly targeting of the prominent political and religious leaders by terrorists and enemies of the nation in an odious attempt to inflame passions and exacerbate disquiet, fear, insecurity and sectional divisions in the country.”
In a statement by presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, Jonathan also condoled with families of the vicitims and “all those who are injured in the twin bombings in this holy month of Ramadan which defy the tenets of Islam, and provide further proof that the terrorists are nothing but bloodthirsty extremists bent on undermining the unity and progress of the nation.”
Jama’atu Nasril Islam, an influential Islamic umbrella body, has also condemned the blasts and commiserated with families of the victims.
“As usual JNI calls on all authorities concerned to be more committed to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians as no development can be achieved in a situation of fear, insecurity and chaos,” JNI secretary general Khalid Aliyu said in a statement.
The JNI lamented that the country is “becoming a theatre of loss of blood for no just cause which must be stopped,” urging Muslims to pray against the ongoing violence.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attacks but the fingers of suspicion, as usual, are expected to be pointed to Boko Haram sect – long the primary suspect in every violence in the country’s northern region.
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