…20 soldiers killed as Air Force jet accidentally bombs military truck in Borno

… Fighter jet hit wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents

… Incident being investigated; not a matter we can quickly give answers to — NAF

… As five soldiers are again feared killed in fresh attack in Rivers state

THE Nigerian Air Force aircraft have been reported to have “accidentally” bombed a military truck and killed no fewer than 20 soldiers while providing close air support to ground troops during the Boko Haram attack in Mainok, Borno state. A military source that spoke to an online news portal in Borno State said the Air Force jet “accidentally” hit the wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents who had attacked the troops on Sunday.

Other sources said that this is not the first time military aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force is hitting the wrong target with resultant fatalities. Recall that the Nigerian Air Force “mistakenly” bombed a village in Damboa local government Area of Borno state, killing 17 people including women and children. A similar incident occurred in January 2017 when the NAF Aircraft dropped bombs in another wrong location killing more than 100 internally displaced persons (IDPs) during the accidental bombing.

The insurgents had attacked a military base in Mainok and reportedly overpowered the troops who called for reinforcement. “The truck which was sent for reinforcement was targeted and shelled by the airstrike following a flawed intelligence”, a source said. One of the soldiers in the affected area told the online medium, “The Boko Haram came with heavy machines, about four MRAPS mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles and they overpowered the ground troops.” “Troops sent signals for air support and when they came, it missed the main coordinates; where the air force shelled their bomb was on the location of troops instead of that of Boko Haram.

“The aircraft had to turn back. They realized that they mistargeted and most of the soldiers started running inside the bush”, the soldier was quoted to have said. As at the time of filing this report, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), had not reacted officially to the ugly development. However, the Director of Public Relation and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a chat with the online news portal said the incident is being investigated. Gabkwet explained that he also saw a video from the affected scene and that the Air Force is investigating the matter.

“All I can say is that the matter is being investigated. It is not a matter that we can just quickly give answers to,” he concluded. Meanwhile, unknown gunmen have again killed about five soldiers in Omelema community, Abia Local Government Area of Rivers State. It was gathered that the gunmen came from a nearby river, shot indiscriminately, and went straight to a lodge where the soldiers were camped and opened fire, killing two on the spot at about 11 am on Monday.

It would be recalled that the latest attack is coming barely 48 hours after gunmen suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra attacked some security checkpoints, killing eight operatives. The spokesman for the 6 Division, Nigeria Army Port Harcourt, Major Charles Ekeocha, was yet to comment on the incident as he was not answering his calls as of the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, all heads of security agencies on Monday morning held a security meeting at the headquarters of the State Police Command along Moscow Road in Port Harcourt.

 


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