One of the Internally Displaced Persons in Rann, Borno State, who survived the accidental bombing of the camp on Tuesday, said the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet involved in the operation dropped bombs on the camp three times.
Abdulwahab Adam, who spoke to The PUNCH at the General Hospital, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, on Wednesday, said, “The bombs were dropped on us thrice and there was no way a mistake could be made thrice.
Tragedy had struck on Tuesday, when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, killing no fewer than 100 persons on the ground.
Aid workers confirmed to have been killed in the bombing included the officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), International Committee of the Red Cross and some refugees.
“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.
Another victim of the attack, Abba Yusuf, believed the NAF had to explain what led to the attack.
He added, “This is the same force that told the world that they did not drop the bomb on insurgents in the Sambisa Forest because of human shield but weeks later, dropped bombs on unarmed civilians in an IDPs’ camp.
“Could they have been blindfolded to know that we were in a queue and we were unarmed or could they have mistaken the IDPs camp for the haven of insurgents?”
One of the people, who trooped to the hospital to visit their relatives who sustained injuries in the attack, Yakubu Hassan, said, “This is really unfortunate. I came to the hospital to get information about my brother, Babangida Hassan, only to be told that he was killed in the attack.”
He said his brother was a 35 year-old ad-hoc worker with the Nigerian Red Cross.
He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the “negligent” pilot was brought to book.
He lamented that the deceased left behind two wives and over 30 other dependants.
“How do you want them to be taken care of now?” he asked.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government dispatched a high-powered delegation, led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, to condole with the government and people of Borno State and the international aid agencies affected in the attack.
In the delegation were two ministers – retired Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali (Defence); and Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture).
Others are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Kyari delivered the government’s message to the state Governor, Kashim Shettima; the Shehu of Dikwa, Alhaji Mohammed El-Kanemi, and the injured international aid workers at the hospital.
He said, “We are in Maiduguri at the instance of President Buhari to come over and condole with the people and government of Borno State over the unfortunate air strike that took place at Rann town’s IDP Camp on Tuesday, leaving many innocent people dead and others wounded.”
He assured the people that the Nigerian Armed forces would ensure that such incidents did not occur again.
Kyari said the Federal Government would bear the cost of the treatment of all those wounded and who are receiving attention at hospitals in Maiduguri and its environs.
Shettima, who thanked the delegation for the condolence visit, acknowledged the sacrifices of the Armed Forces and the Federal Government in the fight against Boko Haram.
He added that with prayers, zeal, determination and commitment of the military and other security agencies, peace was gradually returning to the state.