Eleven security personnel were killed in a landmine explosion in northeast Nigeria, sources from within the military said.
The landmine exploded when a vehicle carrying the security team, which included soldiers and hunters, was passing through the village of Kayamla, situated on the outskirts of Borno State’s capital Maiduguri.
According to AFP, the vehicle hit a landmine, leaving seven hunters and four soldiers dead. Nine others were severely injured in the explosion, a local anti-jihadist militia told the news agency.
The source further added that the security team was in the area for a counter-terrorism mission against the Boko Haram terrorists when the incident took place. The Nigerian military had recruited the hunters to take down the terrorists.
According to one of the surviving hunters, Malam Abubakar, their four-wheel vehicle hit the first landmine, but they managed to traverse it unhurt. However, the vehicle soon hit a second landmine, resulting in the death of 11 personnel and leaving several others badly injured, he added.
The local people have been grieving over the tragic incident.
A member of the Nigerian parliament, Ahmed Satomi, said the security personnel’s death was upsetting. The hunters sacrificed their lives to protect the people from the insurgents, he added.
It is pertinent to note that the rate of landmine-related deaths and injuries in Nigeria is now the fifth-highest worldwide.
While Boko Haram has been responsible for carrying out armed attacks across Nigeria for more than ten years now, the terrorist organization has lately ramped up violence in northeast Nigeria.
It is worth noting that terrorist attacks in northeast Nigeria have seen a spike since the beginning of Nov. 2020. Some weeks ago, Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped 40 loggers near the Cameroonian border. They killed three of the abducted loggers.
On the night before Christmas, Boko Haram terrorists, some disguised as soldiers, attacked a mostly Christian village, killing 11 people. They also burned down a church and took a priest hostage. The tragic event happened near Chibok, where the terrorist network took 200 schoolgirls hostage about six years ago, reports said.
According to the United Nations, 36,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram and a virulent faction called ISWAP in northeast Nigeria since 2009. Moreover, two million people have fled the region for safer places.
According to security experts, ISWAP mostly targets soldiers and security personnel by laying mines and ambushes. Boko Haram, on the other hand, targets both soldiers and civilians. ISWAP has also lately been involved in kidnapping civilians.
Landmines and IEDs laid across northeast Nigeria pose a serious security risk to millions of people, mainly the internally displaced persons (IDPs). The IDPs often fall victim to the unexploded bombs while searching for fuel or working in the fields. Children playing in the fields are particularly exposed to the landmines.