NAF makes U-turn, admits erroneously bombing civilians in Yobe
The Nigerian Air Force has admitted that its aircraft erroneously shot civilians at Buhari village in Yunusari Local Government of Yobe State.
Recall that at least eight villagers were killed in the incident, which Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Air Force spokesman, had earlier denied.
Reacting to a tweet on the incident, Gabkwet had earlier said, “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.”
But in a statement on Thursday, the Air Force spokesman admitted that some shot were fired from a military aircraft.
He said Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were the targets, attributing his initial denial to the fact that the aircraft did not carry bombs.
“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.”