The Nigerian Air Force has finally taken responsibility for the accidental killing of civilians in a Yobe state.
According to initial report by an eyewitness who spoke to Channels Television and Daily Trust, eight villagers were killed in the incident, while many others were wounded. A source in the community, Haruna Ali told Channels Television that three Toyota Hilux brought the injured victims to Geidam General Hospital.
NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet however countered the claim, saying the last time they conducted a mission in Yobe State was earlier this month and no bomb or missile was expended.
“This tweet is false in its entirety. The NAF last conducted a mission into Yobe State (Not Yunusari LGA) on 5 September 2021 and it was an armed recce. No bomb or missile was even expended. Thanks.”
The Nigerian Air Force has now made the u-turn, taking responsibility for the accidental shooting. The Air Force spokesman admitted that some shots were fired from a military aircraft, with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists as targets.
He attributed his initial denial to the fact that the aircraft did not carry bombs, insisting that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities.
Gabkwet said in a new statement;
“Following intelligence on Boko Haram/ISWAP movements along the Kamadougou Yobe River line, an aircraft from the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai was detailed to respond to the suspected terrorists activities in the area along the Nigeria/Niger border at about 0600hrs on 15 September 2021.
“The aircraft while operating South of Kanama observed suspicious movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorists behaviour whenever a Jet aircraft is overhead.
“Accordingly, the pilot fired some probing shots. It is important to state that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities. Unfortunately reports reaching Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Headquarters alleged that some civilians were erroneously killed while others were injured.
“Initial release denying the involvement of NAF aircraft was based on the first report available to the Air Component which was subsequently forwarded to NAF headquarters that civilians were bombed as the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs. Therefore a Board of Inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident.”