Nasarawa 2023 Strike: Air Force Accepts Responsibility, Commiserates With Victims

The air chief maintained that the action was not deliberate.

Nigerian Air Force


The Nigerian Air Force has accepted responsibility for the January 2023 air strike that killed 37 herders alongside their livestock in the Rukubi community of Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall, Hassan Abubakar, visited Nasarawa state Friday alongside senior officials of the Air Force.

He paid a courtesy call to Governor Abdullahi Sule at the Government House in Lafia, the state capital predicated on the findings of the review committee on the airstrike report.

“Sometime in January last year, airstrikes were conducted in the state after intelligence revealed the sighting of suspected terrorists on motorcycles transiting near Rukubi in the Doma local government area of the state. The entire area was well known for its heightened insecurity occasioned by killings, kidnapping, and terrorism perpetrated by terrorist elements in the state,” he stated.

“Because of this, the need for an airstrike became imperative but unfortunately however the airstrike killed some civilians at the location and the outcries by several locals as well as Nigerians necessitated a review of the reports of strikes, which later revealed that civilians were indeed killed during the airstrike. The need to make amends became expedient.”

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The air chief maintained that the action was not deliberate.

He stated, “One of our core responsibilities is to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. Therefore, the unfortunate incident of January 2023 was not deliberate as no military in the world over will intentionally kill those it is mandated to protect.

“Our interest in initiating this is premised on the need to calm the nerves and bring closure to the matter. We also believe that our efforts will promote transparency and accountability and enable us to learn valuable lessons for mitigating similar mishaps in the future.”

Governor Abdullahi Sule also appreciated the Air Force for their efforts in ensuring peace in the state, especially in the eastern part of the state.

While commending the Air Chief for putting a human face into the military operations, he revealed that the state had supported the victims in its way since the incident occurred a year ago.

“From the 26th of January, we started by supporting them (the victims) with little resources because somebody who lost nine children, what kind of compensation can you give such a person,” Governor Sule said.

He then proceeded to the palace of the Emir of Lafia where he met with the affected persons and representatives of the Fulani groups such as Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).

He commiserated with the victims and the people of the state.

The Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage (retired), stated that the visit of the Leadership of the Nigerian Air Force to the state brings to an end the remains of the incident.