Mine Risk Education session in Kukuwa, Yobe State.

Changing harmful beliefs: drinking explosives with water for self-protection

In Nigeria, the Danish Demining Group combats superstition and misconception connected to explosives, which pose a great danger to people in conflict-ridden areas.


In a settlement for internally displaced people in north eastern Nigeria, people who were preparing to return to their home town after an insurgency, had been told that mixing explosives with water and then drinking it would enhance self-protection against weapons. DDG’s Risk Education team learned about the dangerous misbelief by the Kukuwa Primary School headmaster as they were talking to community members about the dangers of explosive remnants of war.

The headmaster also explained that the area, where people were returning to, was littered with such explosives.

Once the DDG risk education team learned about the rumor, they immediately provided additional Risk Education  sessions for the local population. During these sessions, harmfulness of this disbelief was emphasized. Thankfully no-one was harmed and after receiving risk education, the community members have changed their behavior around explosive remnants of war.

‘’People have understood that the only way to stay safe is to stay far away from such explosives’’, says Marie-Josée Hamel, DDG’s Deputy Head of Programme in Nigeria.