See how military personnel killed innocent civilians in Nasarawa by error bombing – Air chief
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has appealed to the Nasarawa State government to forgive the force for the accidental air strike which claimed the lives of many residents of Rukubi community in the Doma Local Government Area of the state in January 2023.
Speaking during a visit to the State Governor, Abdullahi Sule at the Government House, Lafia on Friday, Air Marshal Abubakar said the airstrike which unleashed mayhem on residents of the area was not an intentional act by officers of the Nigerian Air Force.
He revealed that intelligence report had been received by the NAF that some terrorists were sighted on motorcycles in a location around the Rukubi community, but in its efforts to confront them with weapons, innocent civilians in the area lost their lives to the operation.
The Chief of Air Staff said, “It is not news that the general area (Rukubi) at that time had been well known for its insecurity occasioned by kidnapping and terrorism. Within the period, you would recall that six primary school pupils were also kidnapped in the Doma LG.
This necessitated the surveillance by the Nigerian Air Force within the period of time. Unfortunately, the airstrike killed some civilians at the location. The unfortunate incident of January 2023 was in no way deliberate as no military the world over, will intentionally kill those it is mandated to protect.
Therefore, our visit to you (Governor Sule) is to solicit your kind intervention in interfacing with the representatives of the victims of the accidental air strike at Rukubi. Our interest in initiating ways and means in reaching out to the victims, their families or their representatives is on the need to calm nerves and bring a close to the matter.”
While decrying the security situation in the state, he expressed the Nigerian Air Force commitment to end the scourge of terrorism, banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping in Nasarawa State and Nigeria at large.
On his part, Governor Abdullahi Sule commended the Nigerian Air Force for owning up to its mistakes and for agreeing to pacify the victims and relatives of the accidental air strike in the state.
Sule, who was emotional while speaking on the matter, recalled how an eighty years old man lost his nine children and over 80 cows during the strike.