Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria – Bornu governor says camp bombing unfortunate but not unique

Premium Times

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The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said on Wednesday that though sad, the Tuesday accidental bombing of a civilian population in his state was not unique.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how at least 52 people were killed and 120 others injured after a Nigerian Air Force jet accidentally bombed a Rann camp for persons displaced by Boko Haram, IDPs.

The governor said several wars that shaped the history of mankind were not ended without cases of people dying, not from the bullets of the enemy, but by friendly fire of their own soldiers.

The governor who made this comment when the federal government delegation paid him a sympathy visit at the Government House Maiduguri, said though the state was grieved by the “unfortunate incident”, his government still remains grateful to the soldiers for the role they have played so far in securing Borno from Boko Haram.

“The incidence of friendly fire is as old as the history of mankind. They constituted up to 5 to 20 per cent of all casualties in war. From the war of the Rose of 1471 to the English civil war of 1643, to the Napoleonic wars, to the American war of independence down to the first and second world wars, such incidences like people dying out of friendly firing were very rampant.

IMG_2684“On 3rd May 1945, the RAF fighter pilot attacked three German ships; and unknown to the pilot, those German ships were carrying concentration camp survivors and allied prisoners of war. Ten thousand people perished in that attack alone. And even very recently, there was an incidence in Afghanistan where United States fighter pilots attacked a hospital…killing 25 persons including women and children. So also in Syria when a coalition air strike attacked a wedding convoy killing 25 people; was the case in Iraq.

“We are not justifying the sad incident of Tuesday; but we are going down memory to show the world that such incident usually occurs in times of war”.

The governor said rather than being angry at the soldiers for what happened, he was happy with the soldiers’ uncommon candour  by coming out on time to tell the world the truth about the incident.

“We have to commend the military for the way and manner they managed the incident”, he said.

“As bad as the incident was, nobody tried to hide it, nobody tried to sweep it under the carpet. We have to commend the Nigerian armed forces for the forthrightness they displayed by coming out and telling the world exactly what happened. If not for what they did yesterday (Tuesday), people would have resort to the blame game and name-calling; some may even accuse me Kashim Shettima of planting the bomb in Rann to kill his own people.

“And for us in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, we cannot but thank the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for all the support he has given us.  Three years ago, Maiduguri was effectively in a circle, you can’t go beyond ten kilometres away from each entrance to the city. The only accessible road was the Maiduguri-Kano road, which was also haunted by incessant attacks by Boko Haram.

“So we in the north-east remain eternally grateful to the government of Muhammadu Buhari for reclaiming our land and for returning peace to us.”Bomb victims

Mr. Shettima sad Boko Haram have been degraded “as such they no longer cause a threat to us.

“Once in a while they may have planted bomb in the streets to attack innocent people; but believe me, we have crossed the Rubicon and the worst is over.”

Earlier, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, who led the delegation of ministers and service chiefs, had condoled the state government and victims’ families over the incident.

He said the federal government would double its commitment to see that the insurgency comes to an end and displaced persons are moved out of the IDP camp back to their respective communities.

“The President and C-in-C is very distressed about the incident, and has instructed us to embark on this condolence visit. This kind of incident happens occasionally in war, especially when dealing with terrorists like Boko Haram who arbitrarily and in cowardly fashion hide among civilians.

“The President deeply regrets the incident. The Armed forces will take extra care to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The Federal Government is working with the State, Local, and International partners to ensure speedy resettlement of IDPs,” Mr. Kyari said.

The delegation later paid a condolence visit to the Maiduguri temporary palace of the displaced Shehu of Dikwa, under whose domain the attacked Rann IDP camp is located.

Mr. Kyari also visited the office of the International Red Cross, ICRC, and Doctors without Borders, MSF, who lost some officials to the Tuesday bombing.

The delegation finally visited the Maiduguri specialists hospital to see some of the injured survivors that were brought in from Rann by ICRC helicopters.

At the hospital, the Chief Medical Officer, Kwaya Bura, informed the delegation that 54 injured persons were flown in from Rann and most of them were children.

Journalists were not allowed to speak with the victims, as military personnel insisted they were not in the best state to grant interviews.

Similarly, the spokesperson of the Borno State Governor, Isa Gusau, in a statement said the state deputy governor, Usman Durkwa, and the member representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala federal constituency where the attacked IDP camp is located, had been flown in a military helicopter to visit the attacked location.

The road from Maiduguri to Kala-Balge is in a bad state and not completely safe, thus necessitating the airlifts of victims and officials.

“Governor Kashim Shettima has since morning deployed his Deputy, Usman Mamman Durkwa and the House of Representatives member, representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala federal constituency of Borno State, Mamman Nur Sheriff and the Assembly member among other officials to scene of the incident at Rann, Headquarters of Kala-Balge local government area in order to assess the situation and supervise evacuation of victims to Maiduguri.

Nigeria – survivors says air force bombed IDP camp three times

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One of the Internally Displaced Persons in Rann, Borno State, who survived the accidental bombing of the camp on Tuesday, said the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet involved in the operation dropped bombs on the camp three times.

Abdulwahab Adam, who spoke to The PUNCH at the General Hospital, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, on Wednesday, said, “The bombs were dropped on us thrice and there was no way a mistake could be made thrice.

Tragedy had struck on Tuesday, when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, killing no fewer than 100 persons on the ground.

Aid workers confirmed to have been killed in the bombing included the officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), International Committee of the Red Cross and some refugees.

“There was nothing accidental about the attack and it could not be referred to as a mistake.

“The Federal Government should stop telling Nigerians that it was a mistake; for this was not. It was nothing but an unprovoked attack on a civilian populace.

“This was not a new camp and the attack happened when people queued up to receive humanitarian materials.

Another victim of the attack, Abba Yusuf, believed the NAF had to explain what led to the attack.

He added, “This is the same force that told the world that they did not drop the bomb on insurgents in the Sambisa Forest because of human shield but weeks later, dropped bombs on unarmed civilians in an IDPs’ camp.

“Could they have been blindfolded to know that we were in a queue and we were unarmed or could they have mistaken the IDPs camp for the haven of insurgents?”

One of the people, who trooped to the hospital to visit their relatives who sustained injuries in the attack, Yakubu Hassan, said, “This is really unfortunate. I came to the hospital to get information about my brother, Babangida Hassan, only to be told that he was killed in the attack.”

He said his brother was a 35 year-old ad-hoc worker with the Nigerian Red Cross.

He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the “negligent” pilot was brought to book.

He lamented that the deceased left behind two wives and over 30 other dependants.

“How do you want them to be taken care of now?” he asked.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government dispatched a high-powered delegation, led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, to condole with the government and people of Borno State and the international aid agencies affected in the attack.

In the delegation were two ministers – retired Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali (Defence); and Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture).

Others are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

Kyari delivered the government’s message to the state Governor, Kashim Shettima; the Shehu of Dikwa, Alhaji Mohammed El-Kanemi, and the injured international aid workers at the hospital.

He said, “We are in Maiduguri at the instance of President Buhari to come over and condole with the people and government of Borno State over the unfortunate air strike that took place at Rann town’s IDP Camp on Tuesday, leaving many innocent people dead and others wounded.”

He assured the people that the Nigerian Armed forces would ensure that such incidents did not occur again.

Kyari said the Federal Government would bear the cost of the treatment of all those wounded and who are receiving attention at hospitals in Maiduguri and its environs.

Shettima, who thanked the delegation for the condolence visit, acknowledged the sacrifices of the Armed Forces and the Federal Government in the fight against Boko Haram.

He added that with prayers, zeal, determination and commitment of the military and other security agencies, peace was gradually returning to the state.

Shettima stated that had commenced the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs.

24 hours after, 90 critically-injured victims yet to be evacuated

Meanwhile, no fewer than 90 critically-injured victims of the Rann attack were yet to be evacuated from the area on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after the accidental strikes.

The PUNCH learnt that 46 of them were supposed to be flown to Maiduguri, which had the facilities required for their treatments, but they had yet to be evacuated as of press time.

According to a statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday, a surgical team had been deployed in Rann to assist with the 90 injured IDPs, who were in an “open-air space in a precarious environment.”

The ICRC added that 100 patients were sighted at the camp, among which only nine were airlifted to Maiduguri on Tuesday.

It added, “Hours after the air strike, a surgical team from the ICRC deployed in Rann, and another ICRC surgical team in Maiduguri, prepared to support the Ministry of Health in receiving casualties.

“The team in Rann triaged around 100 patients, while nine patients in critical condition were evacuated by helicopter to Maiduguri.

“Around 90 patients remain in Rann, out of whom 46 are severely injured and need to be evacuated to Maiduguri as a matter of urgency. Patients are attended to in an open-air space in a precarious environment.”

An ICRC surgeon in Rann, Dr. Laurent Singa, confirmed that the patients at the Rann needed urgent evacuation.

He said, “We started medical work in Rann shortly after the incident. The conditions for post-operative care are not adequate. So, all the patients must be evacuated to Maiduguri as soon as possible.”

The Head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria, Eloi Fillion, said the Federal Government must ensure that such tragedy did not reoccur, adding that the ICRC would continue its humanitarian services to the IDPs.

The ICRC and the Red Crescent Movement said it extended its heartfelt condolences to the families of all those killed or injured, including those affiliated to the Médecins Sans Frontières.

The Human Rights Watch also on Wednesday called for compensation for the victims of the IDPs camp bombing.

A senior researcher with the HRW in Nigeria, Mausi Segun, said the compensation must be “prompt, adequate and effective.”

We’re evaluating our procedures, says NAF chief

The Chief of Air Staff, on Wednesday, said the Nigerian Air Force had raised a committee to conduct a thorough investigation into the accidental bombing of the IDP camp in Rann.

The air chief added that the NAF was evaluating its procedures to have more efficiency.

Abubakar said this at the Air Force Base in Kainji, Niger State, during an interview with newsmen, adding that the bombing was a tragic mistake.

He said, “Our pilots got airborne on Tuesday, hoping to save lives, but unfortunately, there was a tragic mistake, which led to the loss of innocent lives.

“We have operated for eight years in the North-East and flown close to 6,000hrs; this is the first time we are having this tragedy.

“This is a very tragic and unfortunate incident. Sometimes, it does happen in war. We have directed our Chief of Medical Services to provide medical facility in Maiduguri to the injured, so that they can be treated.

“We are putting up a high-powered committee at the NAF level. We do not want to pre-empt the findings of this committee.

“As a professional service, we will continue to evaluate our procedures and processes so that we can be effective.”

Buhari cancels FEC meeting, Reps set up fact-finding panel, Senate warns military

A scheduled weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council was also called off on Wednesday.

Although no official reason was given for the cancellation, some government officials said the accidental bombing could be responsible for the development.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, had, on Tuesday, in a statement, quoted the President as regretting the accidental bombings by the NAF.

But the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, began a subtle investigation into Tuesday’s mistaken air strike in Rann.

It set up a 10-man committee with a mandate to immediately visit Rann, the site of the incident to assess the situation.

The 10 lawmakers were drawn from the Committee on IDPs/Refugees/Initiatives on the North-East; Committee on Air Force; Committee on Army; Committee on Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Assistance; and Committee on Health Services.

A member from Jigawa State and Chairman, Committee on the IDPs/Refugees/Initiatives on the North-East, Mr. Sani Zorro, had drawn the attention of the House to the air strike under matters of urgent public importance.

While leading the debate, Zorro said there was the need to ascertain whether the bombing was as a result of human error or a deliberate hostile act on civilian population.

He added, “The House is mindful of the need to ascertain whether the air strike was in accordance with strict observance of the rules of engagement under air law and as enshrined under international humanitarian law, otherwise the Law of Armed Conflict.”

The House, in a separate resolution, condemned Monday’s suicide bomb attacks on the University of Maiduguri, which claimed the life of a professor and three others.

Also, the Senate urged the Nigerian military to apply caution in its operations.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly issued the warning following a point of order raised by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, at the plenary on Wednesday.

Lawan’s point of order was based on Tuesday’s accidental bombing in Rann.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said, “We only hope and pray that this will not happen again. We urge the military, especially the Air Force, to, as much as possible, ensure that this does not happen again.

“We are also conscious of the efforts by our gallant soldiers, especially that which they have been making in the North-East. We believe this was completely unintended.”

He, however, urged the military not to allow the sad incident to dampen its morale.

“No doubt, it was an obvious mistake,” he stated.

The senators also observed a minute silence in honour of those who died in the incident.

In a related development, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and his deputy, Ekweremadu, in separate statements, lamented the bombing.

Saraki, in a statement on his social media handles, on Tuesday night, said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims of today’s accident in Rann community of Borno State. I pray that the souls of the victims may rest in peace. I wish the victims speedy recovery, and I pray that incidents like these never reoccur again.”

Ekweremadu, in his statement, “expressed deep grief and condolences over the erroneous bombing.”

He said, “This is shocking and sad. I am pained by the gory pictures emanating from the scene, but I commend the efforts by the authorities and the armed forces to evacuate and treat the wounded.

“I also appreciate the support of the humanitarian organisations, notably, the Medicines Sans Frontiers and the International Committee of Red Cross towards salvaging the lives of the evacuated despite suffering casualties as well.”

Ministers, APC, Buhari’s wife others react

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has described as utterly tragic the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann by a NAF fighter jet.

While saying that the incident was regretted and sad, it nevertheless started that the accident should not be viewed as the true reflection of the professionalism of the NAF.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

The minister also sent the government and his personal condolences to the families of those who died in the unfortunate bombing and prayed for quick recovery of the injured.

Mohammed, who recently led members of the Bring Back Our Girls and the media to Yola, Adamawa State, where the Air Component of the fight against Boko Haram is based and over the Sambisa Forest, said he was particularly saddened because the accidental bombing was not a true reflection of the level of professionalism that he witnessed during the visit.

He said, ‘’One of the things we went away with after spending two days at the Tactical Air Command in Yola is the strict adherence to operational guidelines and the high level of professionalism of the officers and men, especially the young pilots who fly high-risk missions day and night.

“It therefore came to me as a rude shock to learn, a few hours after leaving Yola, that one of the fighter jets has accidentally bombed civilians, including aid workers.’’

The minister urged the NAF to continue to take the necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties while carrying out its challenging task of keeping Nigerians safe.

Also, the All Progressives Congress has condoled with victims of the accidental bombing. The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the APC offered its deep condolences to families of the IDPs and humanitarian aid workers affected by the unfortunate incident.

This was contained in a statement by Abdullahi in Abuja, on Wednesday.

He said, “Although Tuesday’s accident is regrettable, the party urges humanitarian aid agencies not to be deterred in their noble and selfless mission to bring succour to the IDPs in the North-East.”

The party urged the Nigerian military to remain focused on its ongoing final mop- up operation of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East so that inhabitants of the insurgency-ravaged areas could quickly return safely to their normal and productive lives.

In her reaction, the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, condoled with the families and victims of the Tuesday accidental bombing by the NAF fighter jet in Rann.

In a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Adebisi Olumide-Ajayi, the President’s wife prayed that God would continue to guide the nation’s armed forces in their bid to rid Nigeria of terrorism.

“Being deeply involved with the IDP’s and having shared both sad and happy moments with them through her NGO, Future Assured, Mrs. Buhari feels really pained by this unfortunate incident,” the statement read.

Speaking on Wednesday, Shettima said the death of scores of refugees and humanitarian workers in Rann could not be justified under any circumstance.

The governor, who described the incident as unfortunate, however, said it was a painful price that came with war.

The governor, in a statement on Wednesday, also applauded the efforts made by various stakeholders to evacuate the victims.

This is just as the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Haruna Mshelia, said 54 survivors admitted in hospitals had been stabilised.

Shettima said, “It is most unfortunate and wasn’t meant to happen. Nothing can justify this tragedy but going down memory lane, incidents of friendly fire are unfortunately as old as history of wars in the world.

“There are many incidents of friendly fires since the 1st and 2nd World Wars down to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and other parts of the world.”

“It is gratifying that nobody made any effort to hide anything or sweep things under the carpet. In years gone by, people would have resorted to blame games. I am happy that rather than blame game, information was made public with sincerity, mistakes were accepted and focus was channelled into the evacuation and rehabilitation of victims.”

Mshelia explained that 32 persons were receiving treatment at the State Specialist Hospital; 16 victims were admitted in the 7th Division Military Hospital in Maimalari Barracks while six persons were hospitalised at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

In its own reaction, the Arewa Consultative Forum commiserated with the families of the victims of the Rann tragedy.

The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Muhammad Ibrahim, in a statement in Kaduna, on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate the incident.

It stated, “ACF is saddened by the tragedy caused by the Nigerian Air Force jet that mistakenly bombed an Internally Displaced Persons camp at Rann, Kala Balge Local Government Area in Borno State.

“In as much as the ACF appreciates the effort of NAF in its aggressive operation to flush out the Boko Haram insurgents, caution and diligence must be exercised to avoid such tragedy.

“It therefore calls on the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate this unfortunate accident.”

The group also condemned the University of Maiduguri twin bomb blasts which claimed the lives of a professor and four others.

Also, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, commiserated with the families of the victims of Tuesday’s “accidental” air strike.

The governor, who said it was strange that the military could “mistakenly” bomb an IDP camp that it created and aware of the location, called for thorough investigation by both the military authorities and the international community to ascertain what actually happened.

Criticising Buhari for jumping into conclusion that the air strike was a mistake, the governor averred that by making that statement, the President had already foreclosed investigation, which, he argued should have preceded his conclusion.

Fayose, in a statement on Wednesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, maintained that “it is obvious that the Federal Government is still deceiving Nigerians on its handling of the Boko Haram insurgency because it is strange that the same Boko Haram that they said had been defeated were the ones they claimed the military wanted to attack with fighter jet.”

UNICEF backs FG’s probe plan

The United Nations Children’s Fund said it supported the decision of the Federal Government to probe the bombing of the IDPs’ camp in Rann.

The agency’s Communication Specialist, Media and External Relations, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, in a statement, in Abuja, quoted UNICEF’s Director for Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, as saying it welcomed the decision to investigate how the incident happened.

He said, “UNICEF is deeply concerned by the loss of lives in Tuesday’s tragic incident in Rann, Borno State. Our thoughts are with all those who were injured.

“UNICEF stands in solidarity with our humanitarian colleagues, and the dangerous conditions they work in. The aid workers who lost their lives were working to save others.

“UNICEF remains committed to deliver aid to the more than four million children and their families in the region, who are in desperate need of help.

“We welcome the Nigerian government’s decision to investigate how this shocking incident came to pass.”

Story by: John Alechenu, John Ameh, Olusola Fabiyi, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor, Olaelye Aluko, Afeez Hanafi, Godwin Isenyo and Kayode Idowu.

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Contact: editor@punchng.com

 

Nigeria – 100 dead as NAF jet bombws IDP camp

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Olalekan Adetayo, Okechukwu Nnodim, Olaleye Aluko and Kayode Idowu

Tragedy struck in the fight against terror group, Boko Haram, on Tuesday, when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, killing no fewer than 100 persons on the ground.

Aid workers confirmed to have been killed in the bombing included the officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), International Committee of the Red Cross and some refugees.

But the Nigerian Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it had begun an investigation into the accidental air strike.

The NAF Director of Information and Public Relations, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said, “We are saddened by today’s accidental air strike by our fighter jet at Rann, in which innocent lives were lost. While available information is still sketchy, the loss occasioned by this unfortunate incident is deeply regretted.

“We commiserate with the affected families and would update the public as soon as detailed facts emerge from the investigation.”

It was learnt that the accidental air strike happened at about 9am in Rann, in the far north of Borno State as aid workers distributed food to Internally Displaced Persons.

A resident of the area, Abba Abiso, told AFP on the 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 it, killing many civilians.

“At least 25 were killed and many more injured.”

The MSF, however, said in a statement, “MSF teams have seen 120 wounded and 50 dead following the bombing.”

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.

An official of the Borno State Government, one of those helping to coordinate the evacuation of the injured by helicopter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 100 people had been killed.

MSF later, on Tuesday, put the figure of the dead at 95, admitting that it had yet to confirm the figure.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, who heads the military operation against the militants, said the Nigerian Air Force had been given coordinates of Boko Haram terrorists in the Kala-Balge area.

“This morning, we received a report about the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists around the Kala Balge area of Maiduguri,” he told reporters at a briefing in Maiduguri on Tuesday.

“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 the locals, somewhere in Rann, 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.”

Six workers of the ICRC were among the dead, while 13 others were said to have been injured.

The Red Cross said it was “deeply concerned” about the reported casualties among civilians and humanitarian workers in the air strikes on Rann.

The ICRC spokesperson, Ms. Matijevic Aleksandra, who confirmed the casualty figure of their workers, said the injured had been moved to a medical facility in Rann.

She said, “We regret that among the casualties of today’s air strikes in Rann, there are six Nigerian Red Cross members killed and 13 injured. They brought desperately needed food for over 25,000 displaced persons.

“We have been coordinating emergency efforts in Rann with the relevant authorities and other aid actors.”

Also, the Acting Secretary-General, Nigerian Red Cross Headquarters, Andronicus Adeyemo, confirmed that six members of the ICRC died in the bombing.

In an interview with The PUNCH, he said, “Six members of the Nigerian Red Cross have been confirmed dead, 14 wounded and nine are in critical conditions. That was the last count when we did staff audit.

“We hope there will be no more casualties. These are our (NRC) members, because there are other humanitarian workers on the field. I cannot talk of casualties from the IDPs, definitely, IDPs and other humanitarian workers were also affected.”

“We are in contact with the relevant authorities to organise medical assistance and evacuations, and also to get more information on the situation in Rann,” said the Information Officer of the ICRC in Borno State, Sadiq Umar.

The Head of Media and Publicity of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Sani Datti, told one of our correspondents that the camp in question was managed by the military.

Datti said, “Let me tell you the truth, it is very difficult to get the figures because that camp is managed by the military. It is one of our satellite camps, but it is being managed by the military.

“It is only the military that can evacuate those affected from there to Maiduguri. The camp is one of the satellite camps in the liberated communities, which is why it is better for it to be managed by the military as is the case right now.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, said he received with deep sadness and regret the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann by the NAF.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President condoled with families of the dead.

While wishing the wounded divine succour leading to full recovery, the President also sympathised with the Borno State Government.

Buhari pledged federal help for the state government in attending to what he called “regrettable operational mistake.”

Also, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, ordered state government’s health facilities to be on standby to attend to the victims of the air strike.

The governor ordered the Borno State Ministry of Health to set up an emergency intervention team with the State Specialist Hospital, the Prof Umaru Shehu Hospital and General Muhammad Shuwa Memorial Hospital.

He said all the hospitals should be placed on standby in readiness to carry out emergency treatment.

The order of the governor was communicated in a statement to journalists by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau.

He stated that Shettima received the news of the sad incident with very deep concern.

The statement added, “As of this evening, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has deployed a helicopter, which is on the ground at Rann to begin the evacuation of victims, starting with those with the most critical health conditions.

“Governor Shettima particularly commends the MSF for its rapid response in providing first aid to victims at the scene.

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Nigeria – many feared dead as government warplane drops bomb on IDP camp

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IDPs

IDPs

Several people are feared dead after a military plane mistakenly dropped a bomb inside the Rann IDP camp in Borno State.

The Rann IDP camp in Kala-balge Local Government Area caters for thousands of persons displaced by Boko Haram.

A source at the camp told PREMUM TIMES that at least hundred people were injured and needed to be evacuated to hospitals.

At least two people are feared dead from the incident and the injured included officials of the Doctors without Borders, MSF.

The military spokesperson, Rabe Abubakar, a brigadier general, confirmed the incident but explained that it was an error that the military deeply regretted.

He explained that soldiers got information of movement of Boko Haram members and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists.

It was the air support that mistakenly dropped the bomb, he said.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the state government has already ordered all hospitals in Maiduguri to be prepared to receive and promptly treat the injured.

Also, an International Red Cross, ICRC, helicopter has been deployed to the camp to evacuated the wounded to the various hospitals.

The Theatre Commander of Nigerian forces in Borno, Lucky Irabor, a major general, also confirmed the attack at a press conference.

“This morning today, we received reports about gathering of Boko Haram terrorists somewhere in Kala Balge Local Government area of Borno State. We got a coordinate and I directed that the air should go to address the problem.

“Unfortunately the strike was conducted but it turned out that the locals somewhere in Rann were affected.

“We are yet to get the details of the casualties. But we have some civilians that have been killed, others are wounded and we also have two of our soldiers that were also wounded. Among some that are wounded are local staffs of the Medicine Sans Frontiers as well as ICRC,” he said.

 

Reuters

The Nigerian air force killed an unknown number of civilians by accident in an air strike on Tuesday against Islamist militant group Boko Haram in the northeast, a military official said.

Regional military commander General Lucky Irabor said the strike took place on Tuesday morning at Kala Balge local government in Borno state.

“Somehow, some civilians were killed. We are yet to ascertain the number of persons killed in the air strike,” Irabor told reporters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

“Many civilians including personnel of International Committee of the Red Cross and Medicins Sans Frontieres were wounded,” he said, adding that the air force had acted on information that Boko Haram militants were in the area.

ICRC and MSF could not immediately be contacted for a comment.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in the last few weeks as the end of the rainy season has enabled its fighters to move more easily in the bush. The northeast has been the focus of the jihadist group’s seven-year-old bid to create an Islamic caliphate.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola,; writing by Alexis Akwagyiram, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Nigeria – five students and two staff kidnapped from Ogun State school

Reuters

Gunmen kidnapped five students and two staff, including a Turkish national, from an international school in Nigeria’s southern state of Ogun, police said on Saturday.

The kidnappers, who abducted the six Nigerians and Turkish staff member late on Friday, have not made contact with police or school authorities and no arrest has been made, Ogun police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi said.

“We have deployed police operatives and are making serious efforts to release the victims unhurt and bring the culprits to book,” he said.

In September, Ogun state police rescued two kidnapped Chinese nationals who were working for a quarry company.

(Reporting By Anamesere Igboeroteonwu, Writing by Paul Carsten, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Nigeria – troops repel Boko Haram attack in Borno

Premium Times

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army troops clearing Boko Haram enclaves along Bitta to Tokumbere, Sambisa Forest, Borno state

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army troops clearing Boko Haram enclaves along Bitta to Tokumbere, Sambisa Forest, Borno state

Troops of the Nigerian Army on Friday repelled an attack by Boko Haram fighters on their location in the northern part of Borno State, killing no fewer than 10 of the terrorists, authorities said.

According to the spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Sani Usman, a Brigadier General, the insurgents attempted an attack on troops location in Kangarwa village of Kukawa local government.

Kangarwa is situated around the locations where the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is currently prospecting for oil in the shores of the receding Lake Chad.

Following the disrupting activities of Boko Haram in that strategic region, the Nigeria military had established the 119 Battalion and the 133 Special Forces Battalion of 7 Brigade to fortify the area.

Mr. Usman said troops foiled the attack with the support of the Nigerian Air Force which promptly deployed Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planes.

He said troops dealt the attackers “a decisive blow”.

The attack lasted hours, from the evening of Friday to late night, as troops battled to repell the Boko Haram fighters until the airforce jet came to bolster the offensive by ground troops, Mr. Usman said.

“The resilient troops repelled the incursion and in the process killed 10 insurgents and wounded several others,” he said.

“They recovered, 1 Pulemyot Kalashnkova Machine (PKM) Gun, with 67 rounds of ammunition, 1 AK-47 Riffle with 18 rounds of ammunition, 2 AK-Rifle top covers and 3 Dane Guns with 1 cartridge.

“Others include, 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade Tube with 3 bombs, 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade charger and smoke grenade, 1 Hand Held (HH) Motorola Radio an antenna, 1 copy of Holy Quran and Boko Haram terrorists flag.

“Unfortunately, three soldiers paid the supreme price in the course of the encounter, while 27 soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries. The bodies of the gallant soldiers and those injured have since been evacuated for treatment.”

The Nigeria military had in December 2016 announced the fall of Sambisa Forest, which was known as Boko Haram’s deadliest hideout.

Authorities at the headquarters of the Theatre Command in Maiduguri have consistently assured that troops would not relent on aggressive mop-up operations to rout “remnant Boko Haram terrorists”.

They described recent attacks and suicide bombings by the terrorists as signs of desperation by the “weakened” insurgents.

Nigeria – if Boko Haram is defeated, where are suicide bombings coming from, Fayose asks FG

Punch

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has commiserated with families of the army captain and five other soldiers reportedly killed on Saturday by Boko Haram insurgents during an attack on the Nigeria Army Brigade in Buni Yadi, Yobe State.
The governor, however, urged the Federal Government to stop deceiving Nigerians with stories of defeat of Boko Haram insurgency and return of Chibok girls.
Maintaining that the ongoing war against the Boko Haram insurgents could only be won through truthful information and cooperation of all Nigerians, he wondered “If indeed Boko Haram was already defeated,” as claimed by the federal government.
“Where are those suicide bombings and attacks coming from,” he asked in a release issued on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
The statement said, “Nigerians are faced with many wars now, Boko Haram is just one of them and it is worrisome that we are not being told the truth about anything.
“It is like a patient telling his doctor that nothing is wrong with him. How will such patient be treated?”
Fayose said it was funny that the federal government was celebrating the recovery of Boko Haram flag as a sign of defeat of the insurgents while more daring attacks were being made by the same Boko Haram against the army, killing our gallant soldiers.
“The reality is that insecurity has increased in Nigeria more than President Muhammadu Buhari met it. Herdsmen have even killed more Nigerians than Boko Haram in the last one year while hundreds have died through extrajudicial killings by security agencies,” the governor said.
Speaking on the 21 Chibok girls, said to have been rescued, Fayose maintained that the real story behind the Chibok girls abduction will be told one day.
He challenged the federal government to tell Nigerians why the 21 rescued Chibok girls had not returned to their families since last year October.
“Have you ever seen anyone that will be in captivity for that long and won’t be eager to reunite with his or her family two months after regaining freedom?
“If the girls are truly Chibok girls, their freedom must be total. They must also be allowed to tell their own stories.
“However, as it appears, the girls may have moved from one captivity to another,” he said.