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Unknown gunmen shoot traditional leader and three people die in explosions on Damboa-Biu road

21 February 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

Security back under the spotlight after a traditional leader is shot and three people die in improvised explosive device blasts in the Damboa district of Borno State

A traditional leader who was on his way to the mosque to perform evening prayers in Dong Village in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State has been shot.

Bulama Mustapha Ndawan was shot by unknown gunmen on Friday, February 16.

Modu Mustapha, the bulama’s brother, told RNI that he heard the shot and rushed to help Ndawan who was on his way to the mosque for evening prayers.

“The gunmen apparently appeared from out of nowhere and disappeared immediately after they shot my brother. We do not know who pulled the trigger or why he was shot. The gunmen did not attack anyone else. They might have been insurgents; we just don’t know. My brother was wounded and is receiving treatment in a primary healthcare facility.

“This is the first time gunmen have invaded our village. We are calling on authorities to provide better security so that this does not become an every-day occurrence as it is in some areas of the district.”

Security issues have come back under the spotlight in Damboa after the shooting and two explosions on the Damboa-Biu road.

Three people died after driving over improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the road on Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17.

In the first explosion, a car following a security convoy detonated a hidden IED on the road on Friday. One passenger was killed and two others wounded.

Tijjani Wakil, a member of the civilian joint task force (CJTF) who witnessed the blast, said: “We were returning from escorting passengers from Damboa to Maiduguri on Friday when we came across a driver who was taking passengers back to Damboa. We told them to follow us. Unfortunately, their car drove over a hidden IED which we suspect was planted by Boko Haram [Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād – JAS] insurgents.

“We were travelling along the Damboa-Biu road when we heard a huge blast. The driver of the passenger vehicle had ridden over the hidden IED. One passenger was killed instantly. There was nothing we could do to help him. We immediately took two others who were severely wounded to hospital for treatment.

“We try our best to safeguard vehicles in security convoys. But accidents happen. We do not always see IEDs because they are well hidden by the insurgents.

“Soldiers, CJTF members and other security personnel lead the convoy, followed by trucks and then cars. It is more unusual for cars to detonate the IEDs because, by the time they get to the area where the bombs are hidden, other vehicles in the convoy have already passed safely.

“As security personnel we know that every time we lead a convoy we could be in danger. Our lives are on the line. We are trained and know what to expect and what to look for. Car drivers and their passengers trust us to lead them safely. But sometimes explosions occur. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a safe passage.”

Wakil said the military had closed the Damboa-Biu road for months because there were so many IED blasts.

“People were stopped from using the road for months. While we were undertaking clearing operations, several explosions occurred. A number of security personnel were killed. The problem is that, even though we clear the road regularly and travel in convoy, insurgents come through the bushes on the side of the road at night and plant more IEDs.”

Wakil said he had been informed that another car had driven over an IED on the same road on Saturday.

“I did not witness the explosion on Saturday, but I was told two civilians were killed and five others were wounded.”



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