Five Nigerian soldiers have lost their lives in a suspected mine explosion planted by the Islamic State group-aligned jihadists near the border with Niger. The incident occurred on Monday, April 24, when the unit was on a routine patrol in Laayi village near the northeastern town of Damasak in Borno state. According to two militia leaders who spoke with AFP, the vehicle carrying the soldiers drove over a mine that had been set up by the militants, killing all five troops on board.
Babakura Kolo, one of the militia leaders, reported that the terrorists set off an improvised explosive device, and it is believed to have been planted by the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) group. The jihadists had attacked the village the previous night, kidnapping four residents, including the local chief, and planting the explosives as they were retreating.
Ibrahim Liman, another militia leader, corroborated Kolo’s account, giving the same death toll. The incident highlights the increasing insecurity and violence in Nigeria’s northeast region, which has been a stronghold of jihadist groups, including the Boko Haram faction and ISWAP.
In recent months, there have been several attacks by militants in the region, resulting in the deaths of soldiers and civilians. The Nigerian military has been struggling to contain the violence, with troops frequently targeted by the insurgents.
According to the United Nations, more than 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which began in 2009, while thousands of others have been displaced from their homes. Despite the government’s efforts to tackle the crisis, the situation remains dire, with many Nigerians living in fear of the violence.
The latest attack on the soldiers is a stark reminder of the ongoing security challenges facing Nigeria and the need for urgent action to address them. The country’s military has been criticized for its inability to effectively combat the insurgency, with some accusing it of corruption and inefficiency.
In response to the latest attack, President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a statement condemning the killings and assuring Nigerians that the government is committed to securing the country’s borders and ensuring the safety of its citizens. The president also urged the military to remain vigilant and to continue to work tirelessly to bring an end to the insurgency.
The Nigerian military has been engaged in several operations aimed at neutralizing the jihadist groups, including Operation Lafiya Dole and Operation Hadin Kai. Despite these efforts, the militants continue to carry out attacks, highlighting the need for a more coordinated and sustained approach to tackling the insurgency.
Many Nigerians have called on the government to explore diplomatic solutions to the crisis, including engaging with neighboring countries, such as Chad and Niger, which have also been affected by the insurgency. Some experts have also suggested that the government needs to address the root causes of the conflict, including poverty, unemployment, and marginalization.
The international community has also been called upon to support Nigeria in its efforts to combat the insurgency. The United States and other Western countries have provided military and intelligence support to the Nigerian government, but some have also criticized the government’s human rights record and its handling of the conflict.
The ongoing violence in Nigeria’s northeast region is a major challenge facing the country and its people. The latest attack on the soldiers is a tragic reminder of the human toll of the conflict and the urgent need for a coordinated and sustained approach to tackling the insurgency. While the government has taken steps to address the crisis, more needs to be done to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians living in the region.