Five farmers were killed on Wednesday when their vehicle hit a landmine near Maiduguri, militia and residents said.

A truck bringing farmers and their harvest of cucumbers from nearby irrigation fields exploded when it hit a mine outside the town of Addamari, some 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, they said.

The incident which left 20 people injured was blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militant group, which last week attacked a military base in the town.

“Five people were killed and 20 injured in the explosion,” Babakura Kolo, an anti-jihadist militia leader in Maiduguri told AFP.

“The truck was returning from the fields outside the town around 12:40 pm (1130GMT) when it hit the mine planted in the middle of the road,” he said.

Kolo’s account was confirmed by Musa Ari, another militiaman.

Resident Kassim Butari who gave a similar account said ISWAP fighters were most likely responsible for the explosion.

“We recovered four dead bodies and took 21 injured to hospital where one more died,” he said.

On February 28, ISWAP fighters attacked a military base in the town, leading to a two-hour battle in which two soldiers and a militiaman were killed, according to military and civilian sources.

The attack was repelled with aerial support during which several fighters were killed and many of their vehicles destroyed.

However, on March 2, ISWAP issued a statement claiming to have killed 10 soldiers and seized a military truck in the attack, according to SITE Intelligence which monitors jihadist activities.

Boko Haram militants have repeatedly targeted farmers, loggers, and herders, accusing them of passing information to the military and the pro-government militia fighting them.

Boko Haram’s decade-long uprising to establish a hardline Islamic state in remote northeast Nigeria has killed more than 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million from their homes.

The conflict has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, sparking a humanitarian crisis in the region.

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