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#Nigeria: BUK attacks: I jumped over a fence to escape – 71-year-old Prof

April 30, 2012 by Martin Ayankola 12 Comments
The attacked hall

Seventy-one-year-old Professor Emmanuel Olofin,   a professor of Geography at the Bayero University, Kano, was at the hall where Catholics had gathered to worship. He shares his story with Martin Ayankola.

“It was like this. We use the Indoor Sports Hall of the university for our services. Usually, we start mass at 8am but today (Sunday) we started a bit late because we were making some arrangements.

“We started at about 10 minutes after 8am. At about 8.15am we started hearing sounds of gunshots and pellets falling on the roof of the building.

“Then, the Reverend Father asked, ‘What is happening?’ After that, there was pandemonium, we all rushed out and people were trying to cross over to Kabuga, a nearby settlement. It was mostly gunshots but I think they were also throwing grenades.

“Some people jumped over the eight-foot fence, while some decided to take the pedestrian exit that leads to Kabuga. I believe that most of the people that died were those who took the pedestrian exit because  it seemed as if the attackers used the pedestrian gate to gain entrance.

“I jumped over the fence and eventually took refuge under a tree. I was in  my place of refuge, when I heard a siren wailing  at about 10 am. I think that was when the Police came.

“Right now, I have been able to confirm about six of our people dead. I know of Profs Jerome Ayodele and Leo Ogbonyomi, who died. I also know of  a senior non-academic employee of the university,Mr. Sylvester Adah, who died.

“How a 71-year-old man could have jumped over a fence? It was the grace of God!”

‘I was preaching when the attackers arrived’

Professor Julius Falola, a professor of Geography, was at the centre where Protestant worshippers were attacked. He spoke to Martin Ayankola.

“We, those of us who belong to a protestant group, Chapel of Victory,  were holding our own service at an open ground, under the tree, close to the Faculty of Medicine.

“We started the service at about 7.30am. At about 8.15am, when I had just started preaching the day’s sermon,   I  sighted a group of men advancing towards where we were.

“Initially, they did not look suspicious, but suddenly, a shot was fired directly at the congregation and  subsequently several shots followed.

“The attack was simultaneous, as they were attacking us, they were attacking the Catholic group  worshipping in the Indoor Sports Hall. I could not say the number of the attackers. One could not wait, everybody ran.

“Some jumped over the fence while others ran deeper into the campus. I also escaped to the university  clinic.

“The  shooting went on for about  45 minutes. At about  the 46th minute, I heard the wailing of the  siren,  I think the soldiers and police arrived about that time.”

“The attackers were firing gunshots and throwing hand grenades.  Some of our members sustained injuries and right now, we could not ascertain the number of  casualties.”

Culled from The Punch

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