Three vigilantes were reportedly killed with seven others injured on Monday, when their vehicle hit a landmine while they were on their way to fight Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.
According to Adamu Galadima, a vigilante in the town of Askira Uba, who confirmed the incident, the vigilantes from Chul village in Borno state were moving on Monday evening to battle Boko Haram militants who had stormed the neighbouring village of Huyum when the accident occurred.
Boko Haram gunmen who were travelling in an open van attacked Huyum at about 7:30 pm (1830 GMT), firing indiscriminately and forcing residents to flee into the bush.
When vigilantes from Chul heard of the attack, they rushed to counter the attack when they hit the bomb that killed three and left about seven others injured.
Boko Haram insurgents had anticipated that soldiers from Askira or vigilantes from nearby hamlets, would use the roads and planted bombs to slow them down, said Peter Malgwui, another Huyum resident.
The gunmen were believed to have come from nearby Sambisa forest, which has long been Boko Haram’s enclave and base. BuzzNigeria recalls that few weeks ago, General David Rodriguez, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, said that Boko Haram still holds significant territory in northern Nigeria, despite the information by the federal government that the Nigerian army have regained the territories once possessed by the insurgent group.
A resident of Borno State by name of Ngari Modu seems to confirm Rodriguez’s claim that the sect still holds territories in the area. Speaking to the press, Mr. Modu said it is a wrong assumption to say that most of the local governments in Borno have been recaptured from the Boko Haram.
When in reality it is just Maiduguri Metropolis, Bayo and Kwaya Kusar, that are under the occupation of the Nigerian government where the military and police are maintaining law and order.
“All we know is that Boko Haram lacks the capacity to carry out their usual commando-like attacks during which they march in and run down towns or villages, but that is not enough to say that they are not around.
“We are left confused each time we hear soldiers saying no territory is now under the control of Boko Haram.”