In an Operational Mistake, Fighter Jet Drops Bomb on IDP Camp, Kills 2 Soldiers, Others

January 17, 2017, 2:43 pm

In an Operational Mistake, Fighter Jet Drops Bomb on IDP Camp, Kills 2 Soldiers, Others

A fighter jet from the Nigerian Airforce, on Tuesday, misfired and shot some humanitarian aid workers of the International Committee of Red Cross and the Medicines Sans Frontiers, and some civilians in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Kala Balge, Borno State, during an operation.

Unconfirmed sources said dozens of people were killed but the military hierarchy was silent on the number of civilian casualties declaring that two soldiers were killed. It promised to make public the number of civilian casualties when the number has been ascertained.

Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, said: “This morning, we received a report about the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists around Kala Balge area of Maiduguri.

“I coordinated and I directed that the air component of the operation should go and address the problem.

“Unfortunately, the strike was conducted but it turned out that other civilians were somewhere around the area and they were affected.

“So far, it is a little bit disturbing; death has occurred. There are casualties; there were deaths and injuries but on the actual number of casualties, we would get back to you later.

“I am yet to get the number of casualties of civilians killed, but two soldiers were also affected.

“Some humanitarian staff of Medicines Sans Frontiers and some staff of International Committee of Red Cross were also affected.

“We are sending helicopters to evacuate those that were critically wounded, including our wounded soldiers.”

 'We're Saddend, We're in Pains,' Says DHQ

In a swift reaction, the Defence Headquarters said it is saddend by the mistakenly bombing of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the military fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the North East.

Director of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Brig-Gen Rabe Abubakar described the incident as a 'painful' one. 

"It's unfortunate and regrettable so to speak, we're working on information, so any information you get you must ensure that you hit the target. The whole insurgency operation  is intelligence driven,  Unfortunately, we struck innocent citizens. 

"It is highly regretful, we are all in pains. We are saddend by this incident, this is what you called operation mistake. We therefore condoned  with the families and pray for their repost."

Buhari: A Regrettable Operational Mistake

President Muhammadu Buhari, who received with deep sadness and regret, the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann, Borno State, by the Nigerian Air Force, engaged in the final phase of mopping up insurgents in the North-east, described the act a "regretable operational mistake."

Buhari condoled with families of the dead, wished the wounded divine succour, leading to full recovery, and sympathized with the Borno State government.

The President also pledged the Federal Government help for the state government in attending to "this regrettable operational mistake," and pleaded for calm, even as he prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the dead.

Dogara Expresses Sadness, Calls for Investigation

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, expressed sadness over the accident involving Internally Displaced Persons Camp, in Kalabalge, Borno state, by Nigerian Airforce fighter jet and demanded the investigation of the incident to prevent a re-occurence.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, the Speaker extended his heartfelt condolence to the families of the victims and prayed God to comfort them. He also prayed for quick recovery for the injured.

Dogara urged the military to investigate the incident so as to prevent future occurrence.

***Additional reports: NAN

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