Nigeria to investigate deaths of civilians in military airstrike


Nigerian military on Thursday said it has begun an investigation into a fighter jet that allegedly killed some civilians and injured others “erroneously,” amid a series of airstrikes targeted at a criminal group in the northeastern state of Yobe.

In a statement, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said a board of inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident on Wednesday morning, at a village in Yunusari, a local government area of Yobe.

The air force said it merely deployed a fighter jet while responding to intelligence which indicated insurgents’ movements around the area, which is known for insurgents’ activities.

“The aircraft while operating (above the area) observed suspicious movement consistent with the insurgents’ behavior,” said the air force’s statement. “Accordingly, the pilot fired some probing shots.”

“But unfortunately, reports reaching NAF headquarters alleged that some civilians were erroneously killed while others were injured,” the statement said without giving an exact figure of those killed or injured.

In a separate statement, Mai Mala-Buni, governor of Yobe, commiserated with bereaved families and directed government hospitals in the state to offer free medical services to those who sustained injuries during the airstrike.

He also pledged that the state government would liaise with the military to identify the root cause of the strike.

“Government will work closely with the security forces especially the Nigerian air force to establish what actually happened. This is very important and necessary for us to guard against future occurrences and to safeguard the lives of our people,” he added. Enditem

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