By Kareem Haruna
A bag filled with improvised bombs discovered by operatives of the youth vigilante at a deserted camp of Boko Haram near Monguno village in Borno State, has accidentally exploded killing at least 63 persons, witnesses and security sources said.
The explosion, which occurred at about 5pm on Tuesday, had also left many persons injured.
An eyewitness and operative of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), Haruna Bukar, told journalists on phone that a group of Civilian-JTF on patrol along Monguno-Marte route stumbled upon a bag containing metallic substances at an area where Boko Haram terrorists had once camped before they were dislodged by Nigerian soldiers in February this year.
“When they found the bag containing what later turned out to be improvised explosives, they brought it to Monguno town where people gathered to take a looks at it. As they were busy fiddling with the content of the bag, the bombs went off with a massive blast that killed about 63 persons and injured dozen others”, said
“It was really a very sad incident that affected many families. Most of those affected are young men and a few number of females”.
An officer of the VGN in Maiduguri, Abbas Gava, had also confirmed the incident to journalists.
“Initially we thought it was a Boko Haram attack as it was being rumored in the town of Maiduguri”, he said. “But when we later checked, we discovered that it was somehow an accidental explosion caused by the foolishness of the Civilian-JTF operatives who discovered such a dangerous device and refusing to call on the police of military that has the expertise to handle such things. 63 persons dying without being attacked is a huge loss. This also further heightened our fears that a lot of sweeping needs to be done by the explosives ordnance department before people are allowed to go back to their liberated homes”.
Monguno is about 137km west of Maiduguri the Borno state capital.
Boko Haram terrorists had on the 25th of January, this year attacked Monguno and sacked a major military barracks there, killing hundreds within and around the town and carted away large number of munitions from the barracks after forcing soldiers to flee alongside civilians.
Nigeria military had on the second week of February retake Monguno from the Boko Haram terrorists after a heated gun battle that allegedly sent the insurgents fleeing.