In a heart-wrenching incident on Saturday, at least six young lives were cut short following the explosion of an undetonated Improvised Explosive Device (IED) near a Qur’anic school in the Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State.
The devastating event unfolded around 2:00p.m. and unfolded within the premises of a metal scavenger’s collection site.
According to a report by Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency publication specializing in the Lake Chad region, the explosion occurred when the undetonated IED, unknowingly collected among scraps, detonated within a building used by the metal scavenger.
The proximity of the blast to the Qur’anic school resulted in the tragic loss of six innocent lives.
The report stated, “An improvised explosive device (IED) has detonated in Gubio town, Borno, resulting in the tragic deaths of six Qur’anic school pupils popularly known as Almajirai. The incident took place on Saturday, January 27, when a metal scavenger unknowingly collected and stored various metallic items in a building in close proximity to a Tsangaya school.
Little did the scavenger know that among the collected metal was an abandoned undetonated IED, which exploded at approximately 2 pm, claiming the lives of the children and causing severe bodily harm.”
This grim incident follows a concerning trend in Borno State. In 2022, the Borno police reported that insurgents claimed the lives of about 55 scrap metal collectors within a three-week period. In response to this rising threat, Governor Babagana Zulum took decisive action in 2023 by banning metal scavenging activities across all Local Government Areas of the state.
Governor Zulum emphasized the devastating toll of such activities, stating that metal scavenging had already caused the deaths of thousands of citizens in the state.
As the community grapples with the aftermath of this tragic event, questions arise about the ongoing challenges faced by vulnerable populations, such as Almajirai, in conflict-ridden regions like Borno.
By Lekan Olofinsusi