President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness and regret over the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann, Borno State by the Nigerian Air Force.
The NAF was engaged in the final phase of mopping up insurgents in the North-east.
The presidential statement appeared to have clarified the casualties of the accidental bombing and the precise location.
An earlier report given by the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. General Lucky Irabor said the victims were possibly aid workers and civilians. And he said the accident happened at Kala Balge area of Borno State.
“So far, it is a little bit disturbing; death has occurred. There are casualties; there were deaths and injuries”, Irabor said.
“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,’’ Irabor said on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
The shots reportedly hit the Medicines Sans Frontiers and some civilians.
“This morning, we received a report about the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists around Kala Balge area of Maiduguri.
“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 other civilians were somewhere around the area and they were affected.’’
He said some humanitarian staff of Medicines Sans Frontiers and some staff of International Committee of Red Cross(ICRC) were also affected.
“We are sending helicopters to evacuate those that were critically wounded, including our wounded soldiers,” Irabor said.
President Buhari has sent condolences to the families of the dead and expressed sympathy with the Borno State government.
The President pledges federal help for the state government in attending to “this regrettable operational mistake,” and pleaded for calm, even as he prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the dead.