Details of how the accidental bombing of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp on Tuesday have begun to emerge.
The following have so far been established according to reports and a source quoted by Abusidqu:
- The Air force bombing of the camp was based on an intelligence alert by a foreign country.
- The Air Force was not aware of the existence of the IDPs camp due to lack of synergy among the military, the Emergency Management bodies and the Borno State Government.
- No fewer than 100 civilians were killed in the airstrike
- Casualties include some internally displaced persons (IDPs), officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) and officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross
- 24 hours after the attack, at least 90 critically-injured victims were yet to be evacuated from the area on Wednesday
Punch quoted Abdulwahab Adam, one of the internally displaced persons who survived the attack as saying that the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet involved in the operation dropped bombs on the camp three times.
Adam, who spoke to the newspaper at the General Hospital, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said: “The bombs were dropped on us thrice and there was no way a mistake could be made thrice.
“There was nothing accidental about the attack and it could not be referred to as a mistake.
“The Federal Government should stop telling Nigerians that it was a mistake; for this was not. It was nothing but an unprovoked attack on a civilian populace.
“This was not a new camp and the attack happened when people queued up to receive humanitarian materials”
Abusidiqu’s source said: “What happened was that a foreign nation, which had been assisting in the counter-insurgency, provided an intelligence alert on the regrouping of some insurgents in Rann.
“The foreign country based its alert on what its surveillance radar picked. The alert indicated that the insurgents must be smoked out as early as possible. It was on this basis that the Air Force deployed its jet.
“The error occurred because the IDPs camp was not among the list of camps made available to the Air Force. There is a strong suspicion that the camp was recently set up by emergency bodies and Borno State without updating the list given to the military.”
The source pleaded that the country’s name should not be revealed. He stressed that there was no coordination between the military and the emergency bodies on the camp in Rann.
“Yet, we cannot blame the foreign country because it had always given credible intelligence to the military, especially on Operation Lafiya Dole,” the source said.