As farmers prepare to cultivate their farms across war-ravaged Northeast Nigeria for the new farming season, they face deadly threats from unexploded bombs and improvised explosive devices.
The Nigeria Police Command in Yobe has therefore advised farmers in the state to beware of landmines while cultivating on their farms.
The Spokesman for the Command, ASP Dungus Abdulkarim, gave the advice in a statement in Damaturu, saying the caution became necessary against the background of a recent explosion that injured a farmer, Mr Adamu Haruna, in Gujiba.
“Haruna found an unexploded bomb on his farm and he unknowingly took it home.
“However, while trying to dismantle it, it exploded and resulted in injuries on various parts of his body, ” Abdulkarim said.
He said that the police had discovered and defused several Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on farmlands in Damaturu and Buni Yadi, after the incident.
He, however, warned that more landmines were believed to have been planted by Boko Haram insurgents in Tarmuwa, Dapchi, Kanamma and Gulani Local Government Areas of the state.
He advised farmers to report suspected objects on their farms to the nearest police station for action.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in March and April, 18 people, including children, lost their lives due to unexploded ordnances.
Unexploded bombs and improvised explosive devices deployed by state and non-state actors continue to pose a significant threat to millions of people in the Northeast region of Nigeria where a 10-year insurgency war exposes farmers and internally displaced persons at greater risk.
HumAngle in June reported an incident in the Farm Centre of Internally Displaced Persons camp in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, where a boy accidentally detonated a device while playing with it and was killed.
Humanitarian organisations such as Danish Demining Group, Mines Advisory Group and United Nations Mine Action, conduct defining operations and provide risk Education and support to survivors.
In April, the United Nations Mine Action Service, UNMAS, received a donation of 236, 363 dollars from the Government of Japan for life-saving assistance to civilians and humanitarian actors from landmines of an improvised nature, explosive remnants of war and other improvised explosive devices through mine action in the region.
UNMAS stated on its website that “In 2020, and after 10 years of violent conflict, explosive devices continue to put millions of people at risk of death and injuries in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. From January 2019, to April 30, 2020, 745 civilian and non- civilian fatalities and casualties have been recorded.”
The decade-old conflict has resulted in over 2.5 million internally displaced persons in the Northeast and 240,000 refugees in neighbouring countries (Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic).