Tragedy struck yesterday when a Boko Haram jihadist rammed an explosives-laden pick-up truck into a military convoy in the northeast of Nigeria, killing five soldiers and injuring 40 others in the process.
The convoy was heading to the garrison town of Damboa, which is some 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, at the time of the attack. Security sources said yesterday that the bomber, believed to be loyal to factional leader, Abu Mus’ab Al- Barnawi, targeted the convoy, which was conducting “clearance operations” between Yobe and Borno States.
The attack, however, came on the day the United States announced an additional $30 million to support the people of northeast Nigeria, where years of brutality by Boko Haram and other militant groups have created a dire humanitarian crisis.
This additional funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian contribution in Nigeria to more than $298 million since October 2015.But two military officers, who confirmed the attack, said: “About 1100 hours (1000 GMT) on Thursday, a suicide bomber believed to be a Boko Haram terrorist riding in a van loaded with explosives rammed into a military convoy at Manguzum village.”
The soldier, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak about the incident, noted that. “We lost five soldiers in the incident and more than 40 sustained various degree of injuries.” Corroborating his colleague’s position, a second military source said the troops were heading into Borno State when the jihadist crashed his vehicle into a tank.
“The armoured tank was seriously damaged and the operation slowed down,” he added. In another development, the U.S embassy, Abuja, through a statement stated that this new funding will support the UN World Food Programme in Nigeria, which is providing critical food assistance, nutrition support, and vouchers that can be used to buy food where local markets are functional.
“This assistance is also helping communities return to their agricultural livelihoods where security allows. Humanitarian efforts are vital in northeast Nigeria, where approximately 8.5 million people require assistance, including 5.2 million people who need emergency food assistance, and more than 1.7 million people who are displaced,” the statement said.
Since October 2015, the US has been the largest donor for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad Basin region, providing more than $452 million for people affected by the ongoing crisis.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to launch two newly-acquired aircraft with night vision. The latest platforms will help to reinvigorate the counter- insurgency war in the North-East.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major General John Enenche, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, at a monthly forum with Defence Correspondents in Abuja.
~ Thomas Jefferson