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Buhari probes accidental bombing of IDPs’ camp

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Following the huge loss of lives that resulted from last Tuesday’s accidental bombing of the camp of the Internally Displaced Persons in Rann, Borno State, by a fighter jet of the Nigerian Air Force, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an immediate probe of the military misadventure.

Over 100 persons were killed and several others also injured in the incident. Our correspondent gathered that a memo ordering the immediate probe of the incident by the President had already been issued.

THE PRESIDENT CALLED IT MILITARY MISADVENTURE AND BLAMED IT ON NEGLIGENCE

The memo dated January 19, 2017, it was learnt was signed by a highly placed official in the office of the National Security Adviser. “The memo for the probe is dated January 19th, 2017 and it is signed by a top official in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA),” a Presidency source, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent.

The probe panel, which is being chaired by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, it was learnt, is also ordered to keep its work secret and to submit its report within the next one week.

The Rann IDP camp, where the accidental bombing took place, is located in Kala-Balge Local Government Area and it caters for thousands of persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Spokesperson of the Army, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, while confirming the tragic incident had said that the military deeply regretted the error. The military had also said that it got intelligence report about the Boko Haram insurgents converging on the area and had deployed ground troops, claiming that it was the fighter jet that was supposed to give the soldiers air cover that mistakenly dropped bombs on the IDP camp.

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But competent Presidency and AirForce sources told our correspondent that the President was not satisfied with the military high command’s explanations concerning the incident and had, therefore, called for an immediate probe of the military adventure.

“The President has ordered a probe of the incident. The President called it military misadventure and blamed it on negligence. There was a clear surveillance report of the area of the operation.

Also that jet bomber is fitted with camera that is capable of capturing objects 15,000 feet above sea level and a good and careful fighter pilot should have been able to see that the place was an IDP camp and not that of terrorists.

“The panel is expected to turn in its report in one week’s time. That incident was avoidable. The military is on operations in the North East and we have the map of the place. The map shows all the IDP and other civilians settlements in and around the area. Something went wrong and that is what we want to find out,” one of the sources stated.

 

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