Armed ViolenceNews

Boys Recuperating After Unexploded Ordnance Blast In Northeast Nigeria

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday said the four boys in Ngala were airlifted to Maiduguri by helicopter for medical care.

Four young boys injured after picking unexploded ordnance in Ngala town near the shores of Lake Chad are recuperating at a hospital in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in Northeast Nigeria.  

The boys, Uwa, Umar, Hussaini, and Abdullahi, were playing outside their home when they found a strange object. 

“Unaware of what it was, the children were curious. The strange object turned out to be UXO and sadly detonated in their hands,” the ICRC said in a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 10. 

They were said to have been evacuated onboard a helicopter to the State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri after sustaining severe injuries from the device’s detonation. 

“The children received life-saving surgical care at the hospital, and they are in the recovery stage now.” 

Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a demining charity that works in the region, notes that children face the dangers of the mines and explosives that lie around them and are “the most likely victims of these terrifying devices of war”.

Last year, at least three children were killed and two injured after accidentally detonating an unexploded bomb under a bridge in Ngala.

In July, an unexploded bomb killed several scrap metal collectors in the Bama area of the state. “The bomb exploded as they were pushing it in a cart toward the town, killing 13 and seriously injuring three,” a local militia member, Babakura Kolo, was quoted to have said. 

Military-grade bombs and improvised explosives pose significant harm to people. In 2020, MAG reported that 1,052 casualties were recorded from 697 accidents involving landmines and unexploded bombs between Jan. 2016 and Aug. 2020, including 408 deaths and 644 injuries.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report inaccurately gave the number of the injured boys as three. The report has been updated with the correct figure.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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