“I kept my grip firm on the hand with the gun”

A survivor of the Gombe attack by Boko Haram speaks to a TAP volunteer about being present at the site of the attack and what he experienced. He talked about how his own intervention helped the authorities catch a suspected Boko Haram member, and expressed the hope that justice will be served.

The first explosion came when I was at the entrance of our office at Gombe Line Park. The first car exploded and the people ran outside. The people inside got upset/confused and ran outside. We also got upset but not as those inside, so I stood still. While standing there then I saw someone with a gun who shot under a parked car, and the car exploded. He then ran into the midst of people. I grabbed him. He kept struggling to turn the gun at me in order to shoot at me. I kept my grip firm on the hand with the gun. While the struggle continued, the standby policemen came in and rescued him from us. Already there were other two of his colleagues that were spotted. They were caught too. They pleaded for mercy and protested that they were not alone, there were others around. We then handed them over to the police. In a nutshell, three people got caught red-handed.

After that, what happened?

Already the Firemen have been called. So they have started quenching the fire/inferno, but death toll was already reaching 20.

What about those that died and those that sustained any form of injury?

As a matter of fact, there is no one that can tell you the exact number of people that died. This includes the people that sustained injuries. We helped in taking the bloody casualties to the hospital.

There were those who lost their lives.

Those who lost their lives are more in number.

What is the situation now?

The situation now is that the security personnel have secured the scene denying people access. The vehicles in the Gombe Line Park that got lucky to be removed were saved, and those that could not be removed got burnt.

Where were the culprit you handed over to the security taken to?

They were taken to Police station, Gombe Division. This did not go down well with the people because they would feel better if the culprits were taken out and shot dead (jungle justice) in their presence. The police did not concede to their demand and tried calming them down but instead agitation heightened and tempers flared that the people started throwing stones at the police. The police condoned off their territory with a piece of cloth/tape and threatened that they would shoot at anyone who dare crosses the mark. Seeing turn of events, I decided to run home on foot.

In a nutshell, the arrested culprits and in the hands of the police.

They are in the hands of the police. They police said they would condict an investigation.


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