Friday, November 14, 2014 9:43 pm
Six persons, including three policemen, were killed in a suspected Boko Haram suicide attack at the Magasurku Filling petrol station in northern Nigeria’s biggest city, Kano, police said on Friday.
“A man driving a Toyota Sienna drove into the filling station as if he was going to buy fuel. The vehicle exploded causing six deaths, including three policemen,” the Kano state police commissioner Adelenre Shinaba told reporters.
“It is obviously a suicide attack,” he said of the blast in the Hotoro area of the city and blamed “the terrorists we’ve been battling”, referring to Boko Haram Islamists.
The blast happened at about 7:30 pm (1830 GMT), causing a fire that engulfed the facility and set cars ablaze.
The petrol station is opposite the scene of a July 28 suicide attack by a female bomber and is used as a base by a military unit that patrols the area, indicating troops may have been the target.
The soldiers park their patrol vans inside the petrol station at night, from where they coordinate their operations, local residents said.
The July 28 blast saw a woman detonate low-calibre explosives also at a petrol station, targeting women who had lined up to buy kerosene, police said at the time.
At least three women died. The attack, and a second about three hours later in which another female bomber blew herself up outside a shopping complex, were blamed on Boko Haram militants.
The double bombings were among five to hit Kano in a week, forcing the authorities to cancel celebrations for the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Before then, Kano had seen a decline in Boko Haram attacks.
Friday’s blast destroyed two military vehicles and left a wide crater in the ground, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
The fire service were able to douse the flames before it reached a fuel truck, which witnesses had earlier claimed was rammed by the car and exploded as it was delivering its cargo.
One witness, Yusuf Mamuda, said fire flew in all directions and enveloped the whole filling station, adding: “It is a miracle if anyone inside survived.”
Mamuda himself sustained burns to his leg.
Another resident in Hotoro who lives nearby said the petrol station was turned into “a hell-spitting fire” and firefighters battled to put out the flames, including from nearby parked cars.
“I don’t think there is any survivor inside the filling station,” he added.
Several commuters at a bus stop in front of the filling station were affected by the explosion and the resulting inferno, said local man Shamsu Maidoki.