How Dahiru Bauchi narrowly escaped death twice in Kaduna




The high-flying Islamic scholar Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi is one very lucky man, having miraculously escaped death twice in less than a month in Kaduna. Both attacks against the Sheikh were carried out using explosive devices, one of which was executed by a suicide bomber. Dozens of people were killed in one incident and several others were said to have sustained various degrees of injuries in both. No one has claimed responsibility. The Sheikh lives with his family in Bauchi and spends the Holy month of Ramadan every year in Kaduna where he conducts daily Islamic lectures at the famous Murtala Mohammed Square. The Sheikh has millions of followers and his daily lectures draw crowds from far and near. One of his followers said the last lecture, mostly on the 26th day of Ramadan, was well-attended by followers across the country and foreigners from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal, among other countries. The first attack was carried out in the first week of the Ramadan on July 1 in the evening after the break of the day’s fast. An explosive device was deployed close to the Shekh’s residence in Asikolaiye area. The device was concealed in a bag and carefully placed along the road frequented by people praying at a nearby mosque. The Sheikh too, walk along the route to the mosque. The device went off around 7pm when the Sheikh had already passed the spot to his house, but two people were injured while some vehicles were destroyed. Police arrived at the scene few minutes later and put in place a cordon and road closure. Police spokesman Aminu Lawan said initial analysis conducted indicated that it was a minor explosion, adding that two persons injured have been treated and released from a hospital. The police said Bauchi was likely the target though no arrest was made. A day after, the Sheikh confirmed during a lecture that he was not hurt by the explosion and urged those behind the explosion to embrace peace. Investigations into the incident had not been concluded when another blast targeted at the Sheikh occurred along the Alkali Road in Unguwar Sarki on July 23, the last day of the daily lectures. The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. The man disguised as one of the thousands of followers of the Sheikh who thronged the street to see him. The attacker stood calm by the roadside for minutes waiting for the motorcade to arrive. One traffic volunteer, Abubakar Hussaini said. “I was directing traffic and when the Malam (Bauchi)  was approaching I saw the bomber standing by the road side because all on-coming vehicles were parked. He was calm, and I believe he was carrying explosives hidden in his body. I did not suspect the man at that point and when Malam’s vehicles came closer he hurried to go near it as usual with his followers. He was over-powered by people around and when the vehicle passed he ignited his body, killing all the people around.”

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[eap_ad_1] He said the Sheikh was not injured, but his vehicle was slightly damaged. He had blood stains on his cloths. Police Commissioner Umar Shehu said the man carrying the body bomb actually targeted the Shaikh but that he escaped unhurt. He said about 25 people, mostly people around Bauchi’s vehicles were killed in the explosion while 14 others were injured. The Sheikh hurriedly went home and later told a radio station that neither he nor his children were injured in the attack targeted at him. The Sheikh was said to have answered few phone calls by well-wishers, including Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero before he was taken to the airport where he boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah. It was not clear who was behind both attacks on the Sheikh and why they were carried out. He was said to have survived two other attacks in his hometown, Bauchi earlier, but those attacks could not be determined. A week earlier, the Sheikh had gone to Abuja to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan. The loyalists of Bauchi were angry at the attacks and demanded thorough investigations into the incidents. They staged protests at the scene of Alkali Road blast before the police dispersed them with teargas. One of the followers said, “This is the fourth time Malam is escaping attack. They want to assassinate him, so government must protect him. We are tired; we demand official inquiry into these attacks.” Meanwhile, many students and disciples of Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi received the story of the attacks on their master with shock and condemnation. When our correspondent visited the residence and school of the scholar in Bauchi, he saw the students and disciples lamenting the situation. They also received visitors and phone calls from within and outside the country, commiserating with them over the unfortunate incident. A disciple of the Sheikh, Sheikh Mohammed Balarabe Isa said the recent security challenges in the North had been responsible for religious intolerance in the region and urged both Muslim and Christian communities in the North to discard the moves and threats perpetrated by self-centred individuals whose mission is  to divide the region in the name of religion. He said “It is written both in Quran and the Bible that we should live in peace with one another irrespective of our differences, but some faceless groups are out to cause confusion by attributing the killings to Islam, which is not true.” Sheikh Balarabe said he received the news of bomb blasts targeted at his master with shock and disbelief and described the perpetrators as monsters. He warned northern religious and traditional leaders and youths to shun every form of religious and ethnic discrimination and violence from the development of the country. Similarly, the chairman of Markazil Islam Old Boys Association (MOBA), the association of all students of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi in Nigeria and Africa, Ibrahim Imam Isma’ila Liman Katagum, said the attack confirmed the failure of both the president and governors and all elected officers in the country to abide by their oath of office, because each one of them swore to protect lives and property of their citizens. He said the attacks exposed government’s weakness in its fight against terror. (Daily Trust)

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