By Michael Olugbode
Seven hunters were killed by landmine about 30 kilometers away from Maiduguri, captial of troubled Borno State, on Tuesday.
The landmine, which scattered the vehicles of the local hunters who were pursuing suspected Boko Haram terrorists that hustled cows from areas in Jere local government area of Borno, also wounded 19 other hunters.
Borno State Governor Zulum had only on the same day (Tuesday) equipped local hunters with eight Toyota Hilux vehicles and accessories in order to make them go after Boko Haram.
Both Senator Kashim Shettima, representing Borno Central in the Senate and Hon. Ahmed Satomi representing Jere Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives confirmed the incident on Wednesday to our correspondent.
Satomi said: “It was sad that seven local hunters were lost to a landmine with 19 others injured.”
He said: “Hunters on patrol after receiving an alert that Boko Haram had carted away some cattle from some villages decided to pursue them, but unfortunately they hit a landmine in their pursuit.
“On their way after a village called Kayamla in Konduga after Alau Dam, they hit a landmine and their vehicle got broken and they had to call for reinforcement from a nearby unit.
“The reinforcement came with a vehicle loaded with about 20 local hunters which moved to support the first vehicle and on their way they hit another landmine which scattered their vehicles killing seven and injuring 19 others.”
He disclosed that the incident happened about 30 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital.
One of the survivors, Abubakar Gambo, had told journalists in Maiduguri that they were 19 onboard their patrol truck when they heard a loud bang.
He explained that: “We were on patrol along Kayamla route when one of the rear tyres of our Toyota Land Cruiser truck exploded.
“We thought it was a common tyre burst, but we later discovered it was a bomb blast.”
He has also said while they were trying to change the tyre, they spotted some Boko Haram gunmen creeping towards them, which made them to begin to fire in their direction while calling for a backup.
He said the Boko Haram terrorists afterward fled and left some rustled herds of cows behind.
Gambo said: “Our backup team arrived and began to chase after the insurgents who had already gone far into the bush. As they were making their way back, the vehicle ran over a massive bomb that exploded and killed nine of them instantly, while nine others were injured. I saw their vehicle as it was tossed up into the air.”
The Borno state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sa’ina Buba, while confirming the incident that happened on Tuesday during the funeral of the seven slain hunters in Maiduguri, said: “We were saddened by the death of these gallant hunters who have sacrificed their lives to protect us.
He said the corpses were evacuated on Tuesday and the injured were taken to the hospital.