Jaji Military Cantonment

Jaji Military Cantonment

By Garba Mohammed and Isaac Abrak

Two suicide bombs killed at least 11 people on Sunday at a church in a barracks in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist sect Boko Haram is waging a campaign of violence, the military said.

Army spokesman Bola Koleoso said a bus
drove into the side of the St. Andrew
Military Protestant Church at the Jaji
barracks in Kaduna state and exploded at around 1105 GMT, five minutes after a
service had started. Explosives inside a Toyota Camry were detonated outside the church ten minutes later, he said.The military said at least 30 were injured.

A military source who witnessed the
attack said the second bomb was the
most deadly, killing people who went to
help the injured from the first blast.Witnesses said the barracks was cordoned off and ambulances carried the wounded to hospital. There was no claim of responsibility but Islamist sect Boko Haram has frequently attacked the security forces and Christian churches in its fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, where the 160 million population is evenly split between Christians and Muslims.

A suicide bomber killed eight people and
injured more than 100 last month at a
church in another part of Kaduna state,
which has a mixed Muslim and Christian
population and often suffers from
sectarian tensions.


A bomb attack in a church in Kaduna
state in June triggered a week of tit-for-
tat violence that killed at least 90 people. Gunmen killed six people in a village in northern Kaduna state earlier this month.

The area was at the heart of post-election violence in April last year that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.

Boko Haram’s purported spokesman Abu
Qaqa, who used to confirm the sect’s
attacks in phone calls to journalists, was
killed by the military in September, the
army said. Since then there has been little public communication by the group.

Nigeria’s army on Saturday offered 290
million naira ($1.8 million) for information leading to the capture of 19
leading members of Boko Haram,including 50 million naira for the sect’s
self-proclaimed leader Abubakar Shekau.

At least 2,800 people have died in
fighting since Boko Haram’s insurrection
began in 2009, according to Human Rights Watch. Most in the northeast of the country, where the sect usually attacks politicians and security forces.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair visited
Nigeria with the Archbishop of
Canterbury-designate Justin Welby last
week to launch a programme by Blair’s
foundation to reconcile religious
differences in Africa’s most populous nation. The foundation said it was at consultancy stage and gave no details on how much would be spent or who would benefit.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. peccavi says:

    Aha, so they have learnt to start doubling up their attacks as predicted.

    Well it just means more stringent counter measures.

  2. Henry says:

    Quite unfortunate. May the souls of the dead rest in peace.

  3. Spirit says:

    Beeg, how did this happen? How could it have happened in a military cantonment?

  4. beegeagle says:

    On Fridays and Sundays, people from the host communities troop into cantonments and barracks for religious worship services. This influx is heightened in places where there exists a christian/muslim minority community. It could be that this stems from the feeling or tradition in a country famous for inter-religious violence, that police and military barracks are sanctuaries and the security forces enjoy this perception on the part of the populace and maintain an open-door policy on such matters in the interest of good civil-military relations. The lacuna there is how to balance the need for good civil-military relations with the current security realities but without alienating the same people who you should be courting.

    So if you travel to PHC, Enugu, Warri, Owerri or Benin in the South, you would find minority communities of muslim civilian Hausa-Fulani settlers, converging on the barracks for Jumaat prayers on Fridays where the heaviest concentration of their ethnic kinsfolk and fellow devotees are destined to be found while in places such as Kano, Jaji, Sokoto, Nguru or Monguno in the North, the minority group of christian settlers from everywhere are likely to converge on the Protestant and Catholic churches inside the barracks or cantonments, for much the same aforementioned reasons.

    It is this reality which terrorists have simply capitalised on. At least, until now and even in the face of terror attacks, the military have not debarred civilian worshippers from the host communities from going inside the barracks to worship.

    That “open door policy” now looks set to be revised while access control measures shall be dispassionately enforced. Strictly enforced I said because the tendency has been to relax security measures so as not to stifle religious activities in a God-fearing Nigeria.

    It is in the knowledge of the foregoing paradigms that terrorists,masquerading as christian worshippers, gained access to the otherwise tightly guarded barracks (to be sure, I, Beegeagle, personally took the photo at the top of this page when last I visited the Jaji Cantonment, so the fact that I know what measures are in place there is not in doubt).

    Again, it is almost certain that these terrorists probably strapped IEDs to their bodies because there are devices which are used at the gate to preempt terrorists…including signal jammers, metal detectors and a device with a mirrored surface which scans the underside of vehicles.

    These guys love to steal big cars, so that they can dress the part and not raise suspicions..since they look responsible.
    With this, they can outwit securitymen.

    It now behoves our security people to fashion out measures which separate genuine and innocuous worshippers, christian and muslim, from opportunistic terrorists.

    This is my analysis of the situation based on a thorough knowledge of barracks and cantonments in the 70 kilometre Kaduna/Jaji/Zaria continuum – be it Dalet, Kalapanzin, NDA, Jaji Cantonment, Chindit Cantonment, Basawa barracks, among many others.

    Mammy markets patronised by residents of and situated on the periphery of barracks(not inside) such as those which serve the Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja and Shadawanka Barracks in Bauchi were hit by IED attacks previously while a botched attack on the gate of 1 Mechanised Division was staged last February.

    This is the FIRST TIME that terrorists have succesfully attacked a facility INSIDE any military barracks. Unacceptable but not unheard of in terror-afflicted parts..including the Green Zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, General HQ in Rawalpindi(Pakistan) and MORE. Get to google.

    Keep your heads up, gentlemen. Good morning all.

  5. seun says:

    This isn’t a good way starting up the week…
    Oga peccavi, guess your prediction came to
    pass eventually.. But how on earth did this
    maniacs gain access to a high profile military
    facility,.. New counter measures required @
    dis theatres.. ASAP.

    • peccavi says:

      There is no system designed by man that can”t be defeated.
      Oga Beeg has covered what is the salient point, essentially if you make the abnormal normal, you will not spot the difference, so if you are in the habit of giving big air conditioned cars with well dressed people a simple wave through, that is what the enemy will use.
      Sentry duty is one of the most boring things you will do in the military and you will get complacent,this is why its important to keeo the guys motivated.

      In Iraq we were aware that the enemy used human shields but they never deliberately used women and children in a VBIED, guess what, one day they did.
      If Afghan they use mentally disabled kids to get close to patrols as suicide bombers.
      No system is invulnerable, all you need to do is make it harder. The bomber only needs to get through once to win, you have to stop him every time to win

      This case strangely enough from a military point of view is not that remarkable as it shows natural evolution, using logical tactics against an easy target.
      What would be worrying would be a step change or an increase in these types of attacks.
      Notice its been relatively quiet in terms of VBIED spectacular attacks
      What that indicates is that there is pressure on the IED making and distribution networks or maybe a dearth of willing bombers.
      So rather than launching attacks every day or week or mass attacks and wasting their strength they are husbanding resources so as to ensure they defeat security measures.
      It means they are feeling the pain but also that by virtue of natural selection those remaining are the most hardcore and competent and have learnt from their mistakes.
      There will be more spectaculars and once the Mali op kicks in an upsurge in attacks and I believe an attempt to take down an airliner or something with a MANPAD.
      the FGN just needs to keep on keeping on, exploit the terrorist networks, interrogate aand follow up, they are on the right path

      • jimmy says:

        Well done it is hoped that your very important points are read by someone in military intelligence. Again the twin blasts syndrome is something i have fretted about for a very long time. Let me add one more point to combat the twin bomb syndrome.
        This is going to sound cold blooded so please may the victims who perished forgive me. At the sign of the first blasts a helicopter should be dispatched not to intercept but to take surveillance of what i call immediate aftermath with luck you will catch on tape the trigger man and the commander/ overseer in the Immediate vicinity. MAY THE SOULS OF THE DEARLY DEPARTED REST IN PEACE.

  6. chidez says:

    On a less serious note; this particular picture taken by beegeagle is exactly what appeared on daily trust frontpage November 26th(monday) 2012 issue and there was no reference to these blog. Atleast a little publication would have increased awareness of this blog! #JustMyThoughts!

  7. Vigilance..vigilance..vigilance…everyone needs to be sleeping with one eyes open. Today SARS hq in abuja was hit by bh and prisoners let loose…in broad daylight..the NPF has once again let us down. The IGP has to make heads roll on this one. No more laxity should be tolerated.

  8. peccavi says:

    Oga Jimmy one must educate the people not to gather at the site of bombings, organise people by streets, districts, wards LGA’s etc. Let there be a citizens watch on each street. If there is an incident all citizens should go indoors immediately and clear the streets. Citizens watch should cordon off the street and then render first aid and guide in the emergency services.
    It sounds cold blooded but from a purely operational point of view it is better to lose 5 than 10.
    In all probability you will not catch the bombers (if its not a suicide bomber) as it will be detonated by mobile phone or TV or other remote control very easy to conceal and again as I said above a normal everyday thing to see someone texting or dialling. The indicators for the bombers will be very peculiar but its about educating people as to how to react.
    The bomber could be anywhere, sitting by the road in a car, in a house etc so the key thing is to identify the common factors in the attacks, what time of day? Are there common locations, bridges, corners, etc.
    Also the importance of registering people.
    Make it compulsory that every adult must carry ID a voter registration card or a driving license.
    A team should be specifically dedicated to going round and verifying the information. In a situation like that as I said everyone will be ordered for example to go indoors.
    Let the IED site be cordoned off and treated properly like a crime scene, with evidence collected, collated and recorded.
    All bombers have a peculiar way of making bombs and alot of the material after bombing is still forensically relevant.
    Once evidence is gathered , try and identify everyone in the area, either by taking their photos and verifying ID. You don’t have to do it every time but once or twice and you’ll either panic the bomber or at least cause him to have to plan a more elaborate get away or increase the stand off distance

  9. Originalpato says:

    I usually take business trips to the Jaji Military Cantonment from time to time, I know the kind of security in place. One thing is certain this has to be an inside job i.e. the bomb must have been assembled within the cantonment for the bombers to beat the security in place

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