Nigeria says it seizes 14 tons of fertiliser meant for Boko Haram bombs

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A Boko Haram flag flutters from an abandoned command post.
A Boko Haram flag flutters from an abandoned command post.
STEPHANE YAS / AFP

Nigerian troops have seized 14 tons of fertiliser that the insurgent Islamist group Boko Haram had planned to turn into roadside bombs, the army said on Thursday.

Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in bombings during its 12-year war against the armed forces in northeast Nigeria, a conflict that has spilled over into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon and caused an estimated 350 000 deaths.

The army said it had broken up a urea fertiliser syndicate that supplied the insurgents with materials to make IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.

Troops seized 281 bags of urea, each weighing 50kg, at two locations in northeastern Borno and Yobe states, military spokesperson Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement.

He said the insurgents were "desperately acquiring IED materials to make explosive devices with which to unleash terror on innocent civilians, in a bid to remain relevant and present a posture of potency".

Boko Haram, whose leader Abubakar Shekau died in May, has been in a conflict with splinter group-turned-rival, the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP).

The Nigerian army said last week that close to 6 000 insurgents had surrendered in recent weeks.

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