Explosion Rocks Site of Electrical Installations in Borno

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

There is no end in sight to power blackout in Maiduguri, the capital of troubled Borno State as explosion yesterday rocked the site of damaged electrical infrastructure currently under repair.

The explosion occurred at about 10:00 a.m. when the technicians were getting ready to commence work severely damaging a Hilux Toyota van while injuring three technicians.

Maiduguri, the epicentre of Boko Haram and its splinter group, Islamic State in West Africa Province, has been in power blackout for a month since members of the terrorist groups damaged power lines along Maiduguri-Damaturu road.

Subsequently, technicians were deployed to the site and a combined team of soldiers and operatives of the Borno State Rapid Response Team provided security at the site.

Every day before the commencement of repairs by the technicians, soldiers would scan the entire area for any explosive that might have been planted by Boko Haram.

With the explosion that ripped through the site yesterday, an eyewitness account told THISDAY that two of the three injured had their limbs severed.

The eyewitness said: “Just as we were about to begin the normal daily duty, one of the vehicles stepped on a landmine and was scattered, three people at the back of the Hilux vehicle were seriously injured.”

He said: “In fact we can see the severe limbs of two of the injured, as the three were assisted to the hospital.”

Another eyewitness account said the incident occurred about 10:00 a.m. when one of the vehicles in a hurry parked at a spot which had not been scanned by the military.

He disclosed that the rule “is that everyday before commencement of work the large expanse of land will be scanned by soldiers for planted improvised expensive devices (IED). It is when none is seen that a go-ahead order to park vehicles and commence work would be given.”

He said that it appeared people were getting used to the fact that there was no danger and one of the vehicles without getting than all-clear instruction went to park where the soldiers had not yet scanned.

He said he touched on a landmine which exploded. Confirming the incident, the Borno RRS Commander, said: “My men have evacuated the injured to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital to be treated.”

He said it was quite unfortunate that this has to happen as there are always security arrangements in place and instructions that everyone on site should adhere to.