The United Nations (UN) says it has collated an estimated 1,366 incidents of explosive hazards in the past five years in Nigeria’s Northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
The three conflict-torn states have seen devastating attacks by Boko Haram over the years.
Some of the incidents, according to the international organisation, are caused by the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) by assailants.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, disclosed this at the Humanitarian Mine Action and Coordination Workshop, held in Abuja on Thursday.
At the event, the UN also launched a Gender Baseline Assessment report, themed ‘Strengthening Explosive Ordinance Threat-Mitigation Capacities Service Providers in North-East Nigeria’.
According to the report, Borno is the most impacted of all the three states with high records of explosive hazards.
“Borno State has been most impacted with reports of victim-activated devices detonated in 76 per cent of the Local Government Areas (LGAS), Adamawa and Yobe states are also affected as victim-activated devices have been detonated in 52 per cent of the LGA.
“For the BAY (Borno, Adamawa, Yobe) states, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) collated 1,366 incidents involving explosive hazards from January 2016 to April 2021,” the report said.
There were129 fatalities due to Improvised Explosive Devices incidents recorded for 2020, the report also said. It added that in the same year, there were “422 total civilian and non-civilian fatalities and casualties.”
Mr Kallon stated that mines and other explosives are an everyday threat to civilian populations.
“We particularly condemn the use of improvised mines which kill and maim without discrimination. It is important to remind that such devices go against international humanitarian law.
“Restriction of safe freedom of movement, endangered everyday life, killing and maiming indiscriminately, purposely targeting civilians, causing unnecessary suffering is not acceptable. Populations shall be protected against such threats.”
Police explosives disposal unit speaks
Also, at the event, the Commissioner of Police on Explosive Ordnance Disposal, represented by Gabriel Akoh, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said the police department has recovered and demolished several IEDs.
“The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) is a technical Police Command under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja. It was established out of necessity in 1976, following the bitter experience associated with the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
“Bomb of various calibres were buried and some exposed in parts of the country, particularly in the Southeastern States, where the war was intense. Some of these bombs were detonating accidentally with attendant injury and death to victims,” Mr Akoh said.
As part of what he gave as achievements, Mr Akoh said the police department recovered and demolished 21 mortar bombs, 39 Howitzer bombs and 248 artillery shells at Oruk Anam LGA Akwa Ibom.
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