I had to gulp for breath as I examined police photos of what was left of Mogamat Lakay, the bomber who became the bombed. A pipe bomb is a basic enough device but no less lethal for that. This makeshift bomb is constructed from a piece of ordinary metal piping that is packed with an explosive substance and sealed at both ends, usually by welding on two plates. The average bomb is about 30cm long, and if you stand it upright with the fuse protruding from the top it looks a bit like an oversized Roman candle.

When detonated, pressure builds up inside the sealed container, shattering the device and triggering immense shock waves of compressed air that rocket outwards from the core of the explosion, causing serious injury to anyone in the vicinity (and often ripping off their clothes). The body of the pipe sprays lethal shrapnel but the imaginative bomb maker usually adds nails or ball bearings to the cocktail for additional deadly effect. It is a home-made device designed to shr...

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