The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has admitted that one of its fighter jets on a mission against terrorists “unfortunately” bombed civilians in Buhari village, Yobe State on Wednesday.
The NAF had earlier denied the incident, saying it last conducted a mission in Yobe earlier in the month.
However, its spokesman Edward Gabkwet in a statement on Thursday confirmed the incident which residents said killed nine people and wounded many others.
Gabkwet said the “initial (press) release denying the involvement of NAF aircraft was based on the first report available” at the time.
“Following intelligence on Boko Haram/ISWAP movements along the Kamadougou Yobe River line, an aircraft from the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai was detailed to respond to the suspected terrorist activities in the area along the Nigeria/Niger border at about 0600hrs on 15 September 2021,” the statement confirming the incident read.
“The aircraft, while operating South of Kanama, observed suspicious movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorist behaviour whenever a jet aircraft is overhead. Accordingly, the pilot fired some probing shots. It is important to state that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram/ISWAP activities.
“Unfortunately, reports reaching Nigerian Air Force Headquarters alleged that some civilians were erroneously killed while others were injured.
“Initial release denying the involvement of NAF aircraft was based on the first report available to the Air Component, which was subsequently forwarded to NAF headquarters that civilians were bombed as the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs.
“Therefore, a Board of Inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident.”
Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni has appealed to hospitals to treat victims of the aerial bombing.