Dozens of fighters from IS-affiliated jihadist group have been killed in a landmine explosion in the Lake Chad region in northeast Nigerian Borno, anti-jihadist militia leaders told AFP Monday.
Two trucks loaded with militants from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Sunday exploded when they hit a mine outside Arina Masallaci village in Marte district, according to two anti-jihadist militia members assisting the Nigeria military fighting the jihadists.
"The trucks were loaded with the insurgents when the one in the lead hit the mine and exploded along with the second truck trailing closely behind," Babakura Kolo said.
"Around 50 of the insurgents from both vehicles were killed and others were injured," Kolo said.
The militants were on their way to launch an attack when the incident happened around 0800GMT, said another militiaman Ibrahim Liman who gave the same toll.
"They (ISWAP) suffered huge casualties in the accident. Their loss is in the region of 50 fighters," Liman said.
ISWAP, which split from mainstream Boko Haram in 2016 to become a dominant faction is active in the Lake Chad area where it is locked in supremacy infighting with Boko Haram.
"We believe they planted the landmine sometime ago against troops who periodically patrol the area but they ended up being victims of their evil plot," Liman said.
ISWAP and Boko Haram are known for planting landmines on roads and highways to target military and civilian convoys as part their 14-year old insurgency to establish a Caliphate in the region that has killed 40,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in the northeast.
Late last month 20 people were killed in neighbouring Yobe state when their vehicle rolled over a landmine planted by ISWAP jihadists, according to militia and residents.
The victims were returning from the funeral of 17 people killed in an ISWAP attack on Kayayya village the previous day.