The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “utterly tragic” the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann, Borno State, by a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet, causing deaths and injuries.
The Special Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday that Mohammed had sent his condolences to the families of the victims and prayed for the quick recovery of the injured.
Mohammed, who recently led members of the BBOG and the media to Yola, where the Air Component of the fight against Boko Haram is based, said he was particularly saddened because the accidental bombing was not a true reflection of the level of professionalism that they witnessed during the visit
”One of the things we went away with after spending some 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.
”Among others, we witnessed pre- and post-mission briefings for the pilots, the high attention paid to details, especially concerning emergencies and weather, and the evacuation plan in case of accidents.
“We heard that on several occasions during their sorties, fighter pilots have had to hold their fire after observing the movement of women and children in Sambisa. We also witnessed the same careful disposition when we flew to Sambisa with the pilots.”
The minister said the incident, therefore, came as “a rude shock”.
The incident happened a few hours after leaving Yola, he said.
He explained that one of the fighter jets accidentally bombed civilians, including aid workers.
The Minister urged the NAF to continue to take precaution to avoid civilian targets and casualties as it embarks on the challenging task of keeping Nigerians safe.