The displaced persons were being conveyed from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, back to Gamboru-Ngala, a border community about 145km away. The community is one of those liberated from Boko Haram.
The incident occurred barely an hour after the military authority in Maiduguri, officially okayed the movement of over 200 cars and trucks conveying the returnee IDPs and food items to the liberated border community.
The Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Bello Moduganari, confirmed the incident to newsmen in his office.
“We just received the sad news that one of the vehicles that we had cleared to move to Gamboru-Ngala ran into a landmine at Ngom Village, some 20km away from Maiduguri.
“There is no report of death in the incident so far, but we have arranged to take the victims to the hospital here in Maiduguri.
“We learnt the landmine was planted in the centre of the road and an unsuspecting Land Cruiser jeep ran over it”, he said.
Reporters who were at the venue where the soldiers commenced the escort of the very long convoy of trucks, pickup vans and passenger buses conveying foodstuff and persons.
The Secretary of the NURTW in Borno, Amodu Musa, branch had earlier informed reporters that they could not convey the passengers because of the bad nature of the road especially during the rainy season.
“Initially we had ignorantly blamed the soldiers for not trying to help us; but when we went there on our own we met 18 of our trucks stuck in the clay mud blocking the entire routes”, said Mr. Musa.
“We had to employ the service of a mega crane and towing vans to pull them out; then we also hired tippers to sand fill the route before we could make it to Gamboru some two weeks ago.
“And when we got to Gamboru we discovered that there were people but no food; a cube of Maggi was being sold for N20. A can of malt was sold at N350 and N300. That was why we pleaded with the military to assist us by allowing the trucks conveying food items to go first before the passenger vehicles”.
The theatre commander of the operation ‘Lafiya Dole’, Lucky Irabor, had also informed journalists that the movement of persons and trucks through the routes leading to Gamboru was one of the most difficult tasks because of the dangers on the route.
Mr. Irabor, a major general, dispelled the claims made by the returnee IDPs that soldiers took bribes from truck owners before providing them escorts.