- Some media reports recently accused the Nigerian military of accidentally killing civilians in an airstrike in Borno state
- According to the reports, women and children were killed in the airstrike in Damboa local government area of Borno state
- The Nigerian military says it was confirmed that the target location was occupied solely by Boko Haram terrorists
The Armed Forces of Nigeria has reacted to some media reports indicating that airstrikes conducted by the air task force of Operation Lafiya Dole led to the deaths of some civilians.
The reports had stated that the airstrike at Shokotoko village in Damboa local government area of Borno state on Thursday, April 9 killed women and children.
In a statement sent to journalists on Tuesday, April 14, the coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche, clarified the situation.
According to the military spokesman, “the operation was based on credible intelligence reports, obtained from land forces and other security agencies as well as reliable, vetted informants.”
He said it was confirmed that the target location was occupied solely by Boko Haram terrorists.
“Moreover, as customary, the attack helicopter that executed the mission was accompanied by an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft to ensure proper targeting for the avoidance of collateral damage.
“Besides, it must be noted that Nigerian Air Force pilots, by training and in line with extant rules of engagement for the operation, do not attack any location if it is observed that non-combatants, especially women and children, are present.
“In such cases, the pilots would rather return to base with their munitions unexpended.
“Consequently, on the strength of the foregoing, the location was considered a legitimate target,” Enenche said.
The military, however, noted that an investigation is being carried out and subsequent actions will be taken in line with extant regulations and best practices.
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Similarly, the Nigerian military says media reports suggesting that troops operating at the boundary between Taraba and Benue states are taking sides is false.
Some media reports had suggested that the troops are preventing Tivs from returning to their homes as a result of the communal clashes between Tivs and Junkuns in the borders of both states in recent times.
“This unpatriotic comment from some individuals are coming after troops of Operation Whirl Stroke and the internal security outfits of both Taraba and Benue states, have stabilised the security situation in the general area of conflict between the two tribes,” a statement signed by Major-General Enenche stated.
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