Retrieved explosives kill 63 in Borno State

File Photo

File Photo

FURTHER tragedy struck the nation yesterday from an unlikely source as a bag full of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), discovered by youth vigilance group at a Boko Haram abandoned camp near Monguno village in Borno State, accidentally set off, killing no fewer than 63 people.

Similarly, men of the Special Task Force (STF) in Plateau State yesterday killed two women as they protested against the roadblock newly mounted at Haipang village and Barkin Ladi town.

Natives had protested against attempts to restore roadblock in the area. It was learnt that the soldiers abandoned the plan on Tuesday following the intervention of the Chairman of Barkin Ladi local council, Dr. Emmanuel Loman, and other community leaders, who came to the scene when the natives and soldiers had a disagreement as roadblock was being mounted.

The soldiers were said to have resurfaced yesterday determined to do what they said they had been directed to and prevent untoward happenings like cattle rustling and other acts of criminality and terrorism.

When the protest was mobilised again, the soldiers were said to have dispersed the crowd but one of them went after the two women, who had gone to their shops, and shot them, killing one instantly while the other later died in the hospital.

Reacting yesterday, STF Spokesman, Capt. Ikedichi Iweha, said that in compliance with instructions, some amendments to the checkpoints were noted, especially along the Barkin Ladi axis, noting: “Some checkpoints have been removed, some have been adjusted. It is in line with this instruction that some adjustments were being made along that Barkin Ladi axis.”

However, “as men of the STF were trying to disperse them (protesters), gunshots were heard from the corners of the fence. It was the confusion that arose from that that led to the unfortunate shooting of the women, who I understand were taken to the hospital.”

Military sources and local residents said yesterday in Maiduguri that the multiple explosions, which occurred at about 5p.m on Tuesday, left over four-dozen others injured.

An eyewitness and member of the vigilance group, Haruna Bukar, told The Guardian that members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) patrolling the Monguno-Marte Road stumbled on a bag containing metallic substances at an the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, once camped at before being dislodged by the military last February.

“When they found the bag containing what later turned out improvised explosives, they brought it to Monguno town, where people gathered to take a look.

“As they were busy fiddling with the contents of the bag, the bombs went off with a massive blast that killed about 63 persons and injured dozen others. Most of those affected are young men and a few females,” he said.

An officer of the group in Maiduguri, Mallam Abbas Gava, also confirmed the incident, saying: “Initially, we thought it was a Boko Haram attack as it was being rumoured in Maiduguri town.”

Loman explained: “There was a checkpoint at Heipang before, mounted by the MOPOL. The STF came in four Hilux vehicles and they were mounting a new checkpoint. The people there said they don’t want the military to mount a checkpoint there.

“One of their arguments was that there was an attack at Heipang in the past when people were killed and military ID cards were found there.

“The people in Barkin Ladi raised an eyebrow that the same military killed people at Heipang and the government did not do anything, and now they are bringing the military, who went to Heipang the day before and were embarrassing the people that they were looking for Fulani cows.”

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