Kano (Nigeria), Nov 18: An angry mob today beat a suspected would-be suicide bomber to death after he was accosted at a bus station in northeast Nigeria, police and witnesses said. The man was stopped as he tried to get into the bus station in the Gombe state capital, Gombe city, where at least eight people were killed in a series of blasts at the same location last month.
"There was a scuffle. He was overpowered by the onlookers who pounced on him in order to assist in making sure his bag was searched," state police commissioner Abdullahi Kudu told reporters. "Mob action overtook the event but we thank God he was not able to detonate the explosives because he had a remote. The remote was equally recovered."
A bomb disposal team made safe the explosives, which Kudu said were five rocket-propelled grenades, two mortars, two cylinders and five detonators. Residents also said that the man was killed on the spot and claimed that he was himself wearing explosives, although it was not immediately clear from the police version of events.
"The crowd lynched (beat) him to death," said Rabiu Wunti, while another witness Badaru Alkali said locals then put a tyre around the man's body, set it alight and watched from a distance. "The body exploded. No one was hurt," he said, without explaining why the mob would risk setting fire to a body known to have explosives on it.
At least eight people were killed and 34 injured on October 31 when explosions rocked the same bus station during the morning rush hour. The police said at the time that three suspects were arrested for allegedly planting the bombs, which were concealed in bags. The trio came from neighbouring Yobe to the north, which is one of three northeast states under emergency rule because of sustained Boko Haram violence.
Today's killing happened after one of Nigeria's most powerful Muslim leaders, the Emir of Kano, gave his public backing to vigilantes fighting Boko Haram and urged others to form civilian militias. The comments, a rare foray into political and military affairs by a cleric, were interpreted as a criticism of Nigeria's armed forces, who have failed to end the Boko Haram insurgency.