Maiduguri (Nigeria) (AFP) – The Nigerian military on Sunday re-opened a major road in northeast Yobe state closed more than a year ago for demining after Boko Haram insurgents launched deadly attacks on motorists.
Army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman said the road between Damaturu, capital of Yobe state and Biu, a major commercial centre in Borno state, had been cleared of mines by special forces, backed by police and vigilantes engaged in the fight against Boko Haram.
During the demining operation, four improvised explosives devices “planted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists were discovered and successfully detonated,” Usman said.
The reopening of the thoroughfare came in a week in which three girls staged suicide bombings in Damaturu, killing at least 13 people on Friday as residents prepared for the Eid festival at the end of Ramadan, police said.
Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the northeast have been the chief victims of Boko Haram’s bloody campaign for a hardline Islamic caliphate, which has left 15,000 people dead and 1.5 million homeless since 2009.
Meanwhile, the Borno state government on Sunday relaxed a curfew it imposed two days ago in the state capital, Maiduguri and lifted a ban on the movement of vehicles.
The ban, imposed on Friday as Muslims observed the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Ramadan fasting period, aimed to forestall attacks by Boko Haram, the secretary to the state government, Judea Abba Shuwa, said in a statement.
“From 6:00 am (0500 GMT) today (Sunday), the curfew has been reverted to what it used to be”, that is from 9:30 pm to 6:00 am, he said.