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Rivers explosion: suspect located as police probe incident

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A suspect who was severely injured while trying to detonate an explosive device near the state-owned Presidential Hotel during a protest in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State on Tuesday, has been found.

The Rivers state government made this disclosure in less than 24 hours after the state’s commissioner for health, Adaeze Oreh, asked the public and private medical facilities in the state to look out for a suspect with a blast injury.

There were reports that an explosive suspected to be a dynamite was detonated close to the hotel axis of the Aba expressway.

The state government had initiated an investigation to unravel the identity of the suspect, who sources said was injured and was immediately rushed to an undisclosed hospital.

As part of the investigations, Oreh said: “Now the Rivers State Ministry of Health is calling for an alert to all medical facilities in the state, both public and privately owned facilities to be vigilant and look out for an individual, a young man with a traumatically dismembered upper limb because this injury which was sustained will require medical attention.

“If such an individual and their accomplices are present in any of the facilities, immediately notify the Commissioner for Police, Rivers State and the Rivers State Ministry of Health.”

Following the alert, Oreh on Tuesday night said the unidentified suspect was rushed to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (UPTH) for treatment by his friends, who later left the premises.

She said that the suspect was brought semi-unconscious and individuals, who brought him claimed that he was involved in an accident.

She said: “Following from that call, our medical facilities in the state, we were on a heightened sense of alert and so when a young man was brought to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital with alleged injury sustained during what was said to be a road traffic accident the medical personnel that were on hand to examineim and offer care were on alert.

“And immediately recognized that the injuries seen on this individual were not in tandem with a road traffic accident, but rather resemble injuries that would have come from a blast.

“The individual was taken to the theatre for immediate resuscitation because as of the time he was brought in he was semi-conscious.

“The medical personnel did the needful and immediately informed the Rivers State Government. Immediately informed the Commissioner for Police and the Rivers State Ministry of Health about the presence of that individual in the facility even when providing emergency medical care to revive and resuscitate him.”

The commissioner said that the suspect was now stable after receiving medical attention at the facility.

She said: “We are working with the Rivers State Police Command and so the Hospital has been fully secured, the premises and the perimeter have been fully secured.

“The patient is undergoing medical treatment. He is stable and the police are doing their own part in carrying out the necessary investigations.

“And so in this manner we just seek to inform the public that this is the update following the earlier incident of today in Port Harcourt.”

When contacted, spokesperson of the state Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said she had not been briefed about the identity of the suspect.

But the Commissioner of Police, Olatunju Disu, had said the police were investigating reports of the alleged bombing and circumstances behind it.

Disu, however, did not link the incident to the protesters, who were in support of the police barricade of the 23 local government council secretariats.

He said: “We got that information that four persons in a white Corolla vehicle somewhere along Aba Road stopped their vehicle and there was an explosion.

“The information we gathered was that two of the occupants of the vehicle were injured, while two others came out, put them in the vehicle and drove off.

“We have triggered all the necessary units of the Nigerian Police Force within the state to be on the lookout for these people and the victims in case they are going for treatment anywhere.

“At the same time we have brought in officers in charge of the bomb squad. They have been able to gather particles to confirm that some particles that indicate IED (Improvised Explosive Device) were discovered.”

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