52 killed and many more injured; as Nigeria fighter jet hit the wrong target

 

By Onitsha Shedrack, ———– January 17th, 2017 —————

 

No fewer than 52 persons lost their lives and many more injured on Tuesday when a Nigerian military plane accidentally dropped a bomb inside a settlement camp in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, military authorities said.

ADVOCATE NEWSPAPER

 

Confirming the incident, the spokesman for the military Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, stated that the incident happened at about 9:00 am (0800 GMT) in Rann, in the far north of Borno state, the epicentre of the jihadists’ insurgency, as aid workers distributed food to civilians who were forced to flee the violence.

 

He explained that that it was an error deeply regretted by the military.

 

The military spokesman said the incident did not occur in an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp, as being reported by in some quarters but a settlement said to be occupied by civilians.

 

Brigadier General Abubakar explained that soldiers got information of movement of Boko Haram members in the Kala-balge area and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists.

 

According to him, it was the air support that mistakenly dropped the bomb.

 

A local resident, Abba Abiso, told AFP by telephone: “This morning a military jet mistakenly bombarded Rann, instead of (nearby) Kala.

 

“In recent weeks Boko Haram has moved base to Kala from Sambisa Forest and obviously a military jet mistook Rann for Kala and bombarded, killing many civilians.

 

In a statement, the Nigerian Air Force commiserated with those affected and their families, promising to give update on the incident as soon as detailed facts emerge from the investigation.

 

Hospitals in Maiduguri have been told to be prepared to receive and promptly treat the injured.

 

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a statement: “MSF teams have seen 120 wounded and 50 dead following the bombing.”

 

A senior military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, said the casualties were “huge”, adding: “A fighter jet hit the wrong target.”

 

MSF said its teams were trying to provide emergency first aid at its facility in the camp and were stabilising patients to evacuate the wounded from the scene.

 

“Our medical and surgical teams in Cameroon and Chad are ready to treat wounded patients. We are in close contact with our teams, who are in shock following the event,” it added.

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which also had teams in the area, said only there were “a number of people wounded and some killed”, without specifying figures.

 

“We are currently in contact with the relevant authorities to organise medical assistance and evacuations,” an ICRC spokeswoman in Abuja said.

 

Major General Lucky Irabor, who heads the military operation against the militants, said the air force had been given coordinates of “Boko Haram terrorists” in the Kala-Balge area.

“Unfortunately the strike was conducted but it turned out that the locals somewhere in Rann were affected,” he told reporters at a briefing in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

 

Irabor did not give casualty figures but said local staffs from MSF and the ICRC were among those wounded.

 

“These are the result of fog of war,” he added. “It is unfortunate. That is the reason why this war must come to an end.”

 

Additional report from PUNCH.

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