Barely 24 hours after the hierarchy of the Nigerian Air Force
(NAF), denied trending reports that alleged killing and wounding of civilians population in Buhari village in Yobe state, the service has withdrawn its hasty denial, saying that it is investigating the tragic episode.
Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a contrasting statement within 24 hours explained that: “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”.
According to the Service, “The 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 terrorists activities in the area along the Nigeria/Niger border at about 0600hrs on 15 September 2021.
“The aircraft while operating South of Kanama observed suspicious movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorists 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 (NAF) Headquarters alleged that some civilians were erroneously killed while others were injured”.
The Service had earlier in a separate statement averred that the report that its aircraft fired and killed civilians was false in its entirety.
“This tweet is false in its entirety. The NAF last conducted a mission into Yobe State (Not Yunusari LGA) on 5 September 2021 and it was an armed recce. No bomb or missile was even expended,” the short statement reads in full.
However, an international news outlet, BBC Hausa Service reported that dozens of civilians were allegedly killed in the early hours of Wednesday, September 15, 2021, after a military fighter jet mistakenly bombed a village named Buhari in Yobe State.
While quoting an eye witness, BBC, reported thus: “three fighter jets went around the area before one of the pilots dropped the bomb on the civilian population. He added that 5 of his relatives died in the incident.
“Recall that a similar event happened in 2017 when the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombed an Internal Displaced Persons’ camp in Rann, Borno State”.
According to another online report that quoted Bulama Bukarti, a popular journalist, said: “BBC Hausa reports that many civilians were killed & others injured earlier today when a jet believed to be NAF’s bombed Buhari village, Yunusari LGA, Yobe State. A witness who lost five relatives said “three jets went around, then one of them started firing in the center of the village.
“This area is in the northern part of Yobe, close to BH/ISWAP’s area of operation, so it is possible that the jets were on anti-BH operation. Villagers say they are unsure if the jets belong to Nigeria or Niger, but it’s unlikely to be Niger’s given it’s within Nigeria’s territory.”