Landmine blast kills 10 in northeast NigeriaThu, 18 Apr 2024 12:47:20 GMT

A vehicle transporting local traders hit an improvised landmine killing at least 10 people and wounding 23 in an area of northeast Nigeria battling a long-running jihadist conflict, three paramilitary sources said on Thursday.The convoy of farmers and fishermen left the garrison town of Monguno on Wednesday on their way to Lake Chad when their flat-bed vehicle ran over a mine believed to have been planted by IS-linked Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) jihadists, the sources said.Militants have been driven back from territory they controlled a few years ago in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state but they still carry out ambushes and target convoys travelling out of towns protected by army garrisons. “The vehicle hit the explosive planted on the dusty road around Mosquito camp, three kilometres outside Monguno around 9:30 am, causing an explosion that ripped through the vehicle,” said Musa Kaka, a member of an anti-jihadist militia group that helps the army. “We recovered 10 dead bodies and 23 injured victims from the scene,” Kaka said. The dead were buried on Wednesday while the injured were taken to hospital in the town, said Bello Adamu, another anti-jihadist militiaman who gave the same toll. Another militia leader, Umar Ari, also confirmed the casualty figure.Nigeria’s military gave no immediate statement on the incident.ISWAP is active along the 70-kilometre highway between Monguno and Baga, on Lake Chad, carrying out regular attacks on civilian and military convoys.Monguno, 140 kilometres north of Borno state capital Maiduguri, is home to tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled their homes to escape jihadist attacks and live in sprawling camps.ISWAP, which split from mainstream rival group Boko Haram in 2016, is now the dominant faction active in the Lake Chad area. Since it broke out 15 years ago, Nigeria’s conflict has gradually eased as the military carried out air strikes and offensives against the militants. Mass surrenders and internecine fighting between the two groups has also impacted their capabilities.The militants have increasingly resorted to planting landmines on roads against military and civilian convoys. On Sunday four people were killed when they stepped on a mine near the town of Wulgo, close to border with Cameroon, according to militia sources. The conflict has killed 40,000 and displaced around two million in the northeast. The violence spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.