Live Stream
Radio Ndarason Internationale

Peace & Security

Civilian joint task force member dies and four others are wounded in landmine explosion

Reading time: 4 minutes

Travellers in Borno State say Monday’s improvised explosive device blast has left them feeling extremely frightened and now they are wary of using the Damboa-Maiduguri highway.

A civilian joint task force (CJTF) member has been killed and four others severely wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State.

The explosion occurred on the Damboa-Maiduguri road on Monday, May 27.

Drivers, passengers and traders told RNI that the blast was “extremely frightening” and they were wary of using that route.

“I will only go that way if it’s really necessary,” said Ya Falta Modu, a resident of Damboa town. “Unfortunately, I have an urgent matter to attend to on Thursday and I will have to travel that way. But I would be lying if I said I am not scared.”

The IED, which the CJTF said was “highly sophisticated” and remote-controlled, was suspected to have been planted by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents.

CJTF members were escorting drivers on the road when one of their vehicles rode over the landmine at about 11am on Monday. Their vehicle was destroyed.

Mustapha Ali, a commander of the rapid response team of the CJTF in Damboa, said the IED had been remote-controlled.

“It was highly sophisticated. There was no chance the CJTF would have escaped the blast. One member was killed immediately and four others severely wounded. They are receiving treatment in a hospital in Damboa town.

“CJTF members, including those from our intelligence unit, the military, the anti-bomb squad and other security operatives have been deployed to conduct clearance operations along the Damboa-Maiduguri road to ensure there are no further explosions.

“CJTF members were escorting a convoy of motorists from Maiduguri to Damboa town when the blast occurred. We are grateful that there were no civilian casualties and no one else was hurt or injured.

“This is the first explosion of its kind on the highway in a long time. Apart from conducting regular clearance operations on the highway, the CTJF and military personnel will put in place stringent security measures to ensure the safety and protection of all road users.”

Ya Falta said many residents of Damboa town used the highway regularly to get to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

“The bomb blast came as a shock. Many people use that road often. Some go to the city for business, others to stock up on essentials or to visit family and friends. Now we are frightened. Even though we usually travel in convoy and are escorted by security operatives, the blast is proof that the road is not safe and that, even with protection, we could die or get badly injured.

“I need to travel to Maiduguri on Thursday but I am frightened. What if we’re attacked by insurgents? What if we drive over a landmine? If I did not have to go, I would stay at home.

“I am appealing to the government of Borno State to deploy more security personnel and to conduct more clearance operations on the highway. Something urgently needs to be done to safeguard the lives and property of travellers. It is not acceptable that we have to live in fear.”

Ibrahim Abubakar, also a resident of Damboa town, told RNI that motorists and passengers were now “extremely fearful” of travelling on the highway.

“There have not been any such explosions in the past three of four months. It’s easy to become complacent when there are not frequent insurgent attacks. Then, when it happens again, it’s very frightening.”

Abubakar said the road had remained open after the blast.

“I went to Maiduguri on Tuesday. We travelled in a convoy amid tight security but we were all worried until we reached our destination safely. Then we were scared to return home. All of us were worried, even the security personnel. I prayed the whole way to Maiduguri and back.

“May Almighty Allah fortify our gallant security operatives who escort us on the highway.

“May Allah forgive any shortcomings of the CJTF member who died in the landmine blast and grant him Jannatul Firdaus [the highest level of heaven]. I wish those who were wounded a quick recovery. May Allah bless them.”



About the author