NEMA confirms 25 deaths in Jos explosions, residents say 31
The National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA] has said 25 persons were killed in the twin bomb explosions that rocked Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Thursday evening.
But the spokesperson of the Special Task Force on Jos crisis [STF], Ikedichi Iweha, claimed 16 persons died in the incident.
However, a resident of the area told the BBC Hausa service on Thursday evening that shortly after the incident, he counted 31 bodies – 11 in one location, and 20 in another.
Other witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES the death toll might rise as some of those injured suffered “serious and critical injuries”.
The STF spokesperson however said a detachment of security operatives have taken over the scene of the incident.
Earlier, the spokesperson for NEMA in the North-central geopolitical zone, Audu Yohanna, had told PREMIUM TIMES that the emergency agency evacuated several bodies to the Plateau Specialist Hospital and the Evangel Teaching Hospital in Jos.
“We could not take victims to the Jos University Teaching Hospitals because they are on strike,” he said.
Mr. Yohanna explained that the incident occurred in front of Mr Biggs, near Tafawa Belewa roundabout and that it destroyed two vehicles and injured many people.
The rescue team included NEMA, the Police and members of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps [NSCDC], Mr. Yohanna said.
The Thursday evening explosion occurred during rush hours, when workers and traders were heading home from work and business.
Officials said most of those caught in the explosions were street hawkers roaming around for patrons.
The Plateau state government had, after the deadly May 20 explosions in a market, banned street trading and hawking along designated areas.
But the traders, who left for a while, recently resumed their activities around the prohibited areas.
A witness, Francis Atsa, told PREMIUM TIMES the explosions went off twice, close to the Jos main market, also known as “Terminus market”.
“I was on my way from the old site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital gate when the explosion occurred,”Mr. Atsa said.
“The first one went off at about 6:30p.m. and the second one followed almost immediately. I had to run for safety as objects were flying all over.”