The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, has said it is investigating air strikes carried out by Operation Lafiya Dole’s Air Task Force in Shokotoko village, in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State, leading to the alleged killing of some civilians.
The DHQ Defence Media Operations said on Tuesday that after an investigation into the misfiring, “subsequent actions will be taken in line with extant regulations and best practices, while remaining accountable to the Nigerian people.”
Some eyewitnesses in the area had on Monday alleged that more than 10 civilians, including women and children, were killed when a fighter jet belonging to Operation Lafiya Dole hit the village on the evening of last Thursday and morning of Friday.
The military jet, which was followed by an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform, had been detailed to strike the location, on the information that scores of Boko Haram terrorists were congregating in the area.
The DMO Coordinator, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said the military had commenced an investigation into the air strikes and there would be “subsequent actions.”
He said, “The operation, which was conducted on the night of April 9 and early hours of April 10, was based on intelligence reports, obtained from land forces and other security agencies as well as vetted informants, which confirmed that the target location was occupied solely by Boko Haram terrorists.
“Moreover, as customary, the attack helicopter that executed the mission was accompanied by an ISR aircraft to ensure proper targeting for avoidance of collateral damage. Besides, it must be noted that NAF pilots, by training and in line with extant rules of engagement, do not attack any location if it is observed that non-combatants, especially women and children, are present.
“In such cases, the pilots would rather return to their base with their munitions unexpended. Consequently, on the strength of the foregoing, the location was considered a legitimate target.
“Nevertheless, to allay public concerns occasioned by the aforementioned reports, an investigation is being carried out and subsequent actions will be taken in line with extant regulations and best practices, while remaining accountable to the Nigerian people.”
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