Rann Bombing: At Least 50 Victims Undergo Operation

Rann Bombing, Victims, Air ForceAt least 50 out of the 89 injured persons evacuated from Rann in Kalabalge Local Government Area of Borno State have been operated upon.

The disclosure was made on Thursday by Dr. Laraba Bello who is the Medical Director of the Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri where 68 patients were admitted.

Other injured persons were split between Umaru Shehu Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, all in Borno State.

Responding to questions from the Air Force Investigative Board, led by Air Vice Marshal Sallau Bala-Ribah, Dr. Bello said that one of those brought to the hospital had died on admission.

He added that some of the children evacuated to Maiduguri for treatment were unaccompanied.

“They brought the patients in batches; we received a total of 68 patients and we lost one.

“Right now we have discharged some and we have 58 patients remaining and all of them are responding to treatment; they are doing well.

“Close to 50 have entered the theatre for one procedure or the other,” the Medical Director said.

The Air Force team has been to the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole headquarters, the scene of the misfire in Rann, and the 105 composite group offices in Maiduguri.

The board is gathering information on the circumstances surrounding the accident, as well as the extent of damage.

Local officials had claimed that about 236 persons were killed in the incidence while the Army said two of its personnel were affected.

The International Committee of the Red Cross also lost six of its members to the bombing.

Rann Misfire: Air Force Panel Dialogues With Traumatised Survivors

Rann Misfire: Air Force Panel Dialogues With Traumatised SurvivorsThe Nigerian Air Force investigative panel set up to over the misfiring incident by one of its jets has been having series of discussions with survivors of the incident.

This is because the affected population in Rann community, of Kalabalge Local Government in Borno state have been thrown into trauma, following the incident which left over 200 people dead.

While some of those affected by the misfire have been whisked away to Maiduguri, others with minor injuries are stabilizing back home.

But anytime an Air Force jet flies over the Rann airspace, there is panic and fear of the unknown, according to officials of the 3 Battalion operating in the area.

Civilian authorities, the Nigerian Army and the Air Force have been talking to them for confidence building.

The Commanding Officer of 3 Battalion, Colonel Patrick Omoke said: “There’s been some form of panic within the community.

“Even when we send for aggressor to come and check what’s happening around us, the moment it’s airborne everybody starts dispersing maybe as a result of shock from the event of January 17th.

“But we have been doing a lot of talking to them through the community leaders, explaining to them that it was an accident and we are the ones sending for them now to come and survey and make sure that we are safe.”

Some of the locals confirmed the words of the Commanding Officer, confessing their feeling of insecurity and fear of the unknown anytime an aircraft flies over the community.

One of the survivors, Bulama Malawa, told Channels TV: “I lost my wife and daughter to the bomb from the airplane and people were in pieces that day.

“Today when we see them coming, everyone looks for where to hide especially the children. We are lucky to be alive from the last time but so no one is taking chances.”

The AVM Bala-Ribah-led board has assured the villagers of the good intentions of the Nigerian Air Force and a thorough investigation.

Part of the terms of reference of the board is to investigate circumstances surrounding the operational error that killed over 200 civilians and two soldiers.

“In the Nigerian Air Force, be it accidents, incidents or whatever, we go very thorough in our investigations; reason being that the operations will be continuous and if there was a mistake whether systemic, whether it was from the machine or from the human being; we need to find out exactly what the problem was so that we can incorporate that in our local procedure or in the rules of engagement to forestall future occurrence,” he said.

The board also visited the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, commending the Army for the show of solidarity when the error occurred.

General Irabor has also asked the Air Force Investigative Board to concentrate on detecting what went wrong and make recommendations on how future occurrences can be forestalled.

He said that the theatre command is also conducting independent investigation for record purposes.

There are about 23,000 men, women and children living in Rann, the headquarters of Kalabalge Local Government Area.

While the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), put the death toll at 90, the locals put the figure at over 200.

The Nigerian Airforce had admitted that the bombing was a mistake and apologised.

Officials Claim About 236 Killed In Rann Accidental Airstrike

rann bombing accidental airstrike by the Air force in BornoOfficials of Kalabalge Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State have claimed that at least 236 died during the recent military operational error in Rann.

They have demanded compensation for survivors of the unfortunate mishap.

Kalabalge, one out of the 20 LGAs infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists in the wake of the insurgency, is 170 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

It was liberated eight months ago by troops with the support of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, who rescued thousands of hostages and opened up the town for humanitarian services.

Rann is home to the local government headquarters and to the affected population mostly from adjoining villages and hamlets, fleeing to safety under the case of the Three Battalion of the Nigerian Army until the airstrike that occurred on Tuesday, January 17.

However, the community residents and their leaders have accepted the tragedy in good fate, owing to past efforts of the military in liberating their town.

One of the residents told Channels Television’s crew that: “We just heard bombs exploding; an aeroplane dropped them.

“(The aircraft) passed then came back again and dropped it (and) all the houses went on fire. That was what happened. Those that died were buried, some were taken to Maiduguri in the planes they brought (while) those with minor injuries were treated here”.

They asked the Federal Government to compensate them for their huge loss and build roads that would link them to other parts of the state.

Video: Air Force Begins Aerial Patrol Of Sambisa, Southern Kaduna

234 People Buried

The Chairman of Kalabalge LGA, Mr Babagana Malarima, lamenting the volume of the destruction of lives and property, called for the Federal Government’s intervention by compensating the survivors.

“Our problem since this local government was created about 20 years now (is that) we need a road to link this headquarter to other parts of the state (while) the second thing is with what happened. Now, we are begging Mr President (Muhammadu Buhari) to compensate us.

“Many people have lost their loved (ones) as most of them are the bread winners. About 234 people is not a small number; we need to compensate these people. Yes! 234 (people were) buried by the community and it’s even more than this.

“The report I received from Maiduguri this morning (Saturday) is that two (persons) who are in the hospital have also died. Therefore we need to be compensated seriously. It was the market day yesterday, it was not like the normal market day. After all this is a place where our activities was on a skeletal basis but it was at the lowest ebb yesterday,” he told Channels Television.

A statement issued by the Borno State government on Friday also corroborated Mr Malarima’s claim that two injured persons have died.

The statement further revealed that five people have been discharged while 73 others were still hospitalised.

Earlier report had put the death toll at 52.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) had told Reuters that “at least 52 people were killed and 120 wounded”.

Repelled Boko Haram Attack

Barely two days after the accidental bombing, a group of Boko Haram insurgents reportedly launched an attack on the community, targeting both the traumatised civilians and the troops.

However, they were successfully repelled, with 15 terrorists killed and one captured alive with their arms and ammunition.

The captured, man who speaks neither of the local indigenous languages, is believed to be a Cameroonian.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who has been talking to commanding officers, assured the people in the area that such mistake would not happen again.

Nigerian Army Recruits Over 5,000 Soldiers
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai

“These are the terrorists that came to attack here (Rann community) yesterday almost around 6:00 PM on Thursday (but) they (the troops) were able to repel them. This is to show the level of alertness of the troops and the level of commitment for them to defend this community.

“Luckily when they came, they couldn’t succeed and the troops were able to repel them and pursue them far and you saw what they recovered (as) one of them was captured alive (with) their vehicle and the array of ammunition recovered from them.

“The intelligence information we got from our partners was that Boko Haram terrorists were moving into this place and indeed the information was that they are already in this place. It’s not unconnected because you saw them coming to attack them here.

“Probably it must be the information that was passed to the air component for them to take necessary action, (but) unfortunately a mistake happened. It has happened before in other places and we pray it doesn’t happen again,” the Army chief said.

Rann Bombing: 54 Victims In Stable Condition, Government Official Says

Rann bombing, accidental bombing
Photo Credit: Reuters

Fifty-four victims of the Nigerian Air Force accidental bombing in Rann, Kala-Balge Local Council of Borno State are in stable conditions at different hospitals where they are receiving treatment, a government official said on Wednesday.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, told reporters that the victims were receiving treatment at three hospitals located in Maiduguri.

Giving a breakdown of the locations of the 54 victims, Dr. Mshelia said ‎32 persons were receiving treatment at the State Specialist Hospital; 16 were being treated at Seven Division Military Hospital in Maimalari Barracks while six persons are hospitalised at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

The Commissioner said all the 54 hospitalised victims were in stable conditions, with medical experts from the State, humanitarian partners and the military attending to their health needs.

“It is still too early to give an accurate number of deaths because as at the time of issuing the update, evacuation of survivors is still ongoing with four helicopters provided by the United Nations and the Nigerian Air Force airlifting the victims,” he said.

Dr. Mshelia also told reporters that bodies were still being recovered.

The Commissioner said humanitarian partners like the MSF, International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the United Nations and different stakeholders have been extremely dedicated to the emergency evacuation and medical response.

Meanwhile Governor Kashim Shettima has since morning deployed his Deputy, Usman Mamman Durkwa and the House of Representatives member, representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala Federal Constituency of Borno State, Mamman Nur Sheriff among other officials to the scene of the incident at Rann, Headquarters of Kala-Balge Local Government Area in order to assess the situation and supervise evacuation of victims to Maiduguri.

The State Ministry of Health has already put in place an emergency medical response team to coordinate rehabilitation of victims, the statement said.

After the bombing, the military said it was a regrettable mistake.

The spokesman for the military Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He explained that that it was an error deeply regretted by the military.

The military spokesman said the incident did not occur in an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp, as being reported by in some quarters but a settlement said to be occupied by civilians.

Brigadier General Abubakar explained that soldiers got information of movement of Boko Haram members in the Kala-balge area and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists.

According to him, it was the air support that mistakenly dropped the bomb.

Air Chief Condemns Renewed Bombings, Advocates Civilians’ Support

Sadique Abubakar, Air Chief, Bombings, Terrorists, Boko HaramThe Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has condemned the increasing rate of bomb attacks in Nigeria’s northeast region.

Air Marshal Abubakar said the renewed bombings in some part of the country were part of insurgence, especially with the dislodgment of the Boko Haram terrorists.

He, however, observed that the attacks were not peculiar, stressing that the military cannot deal with the menace alone.

The Air Chief explained that civilian intelligence and vigilance would play a big role to stop the activities of the dreaded insurgents.

He further stressed the importance of strong synergy between the civilians and the Nigerian Armed Forces, noting that it would critically reduce the incidences.

Air Marshal Abubakar said the corporation would also aid engagement with civilians through humanitarian efforts and psychological warfare.

The censure on the renewed bombings followed the attack on a mosque in the University of Maiduguri in Borno State in which four persons died with several others injured.

Barely 48 hours after the bombing, an accidental bombing of a civilian community occurred in Rann, also in Borno State.

The spokesman for the military, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television, admitted that it was an error deeply regretted by the military.

He explained that soldiers got information of movement of Boko Haram members and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists before the unfortunate occurrence took place.

Army, Terrorists Clash In Rann, Borno State

Army, Terrorists Clash In Rann, Borno StateFour Nigerian soldiers have been injured and at least 15 members of the Boko Haram sect were killed in a fresh clash in Rann town in Borno State.

A source told Channels Television that the soldiers were able to repel an attack by the terrorists early on Friday.

This follows the military’s declaration of totally clearing out Sambisa forest with some members of the Boko Haram sect on the run.

In the meantime, the Nigerian Air Force’s Augusta helicopter has been deployed to pick one of the four soldiers severely wounded in the clash.

The soldier has been taken to 133 Reference Hospital in Kaduna where he is receiving treatment.

This incident comes a day after the leader of the terror sect, Abubakar Shekau, appeared in a new video, claiming his group has not been defeated.

The Army responded describing the video as a piece of propaganda that should be disregarded.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, maintained that the Nigerian Army “has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest”.

“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.

“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.”

Troops Repel Boko Haram Attack, Kill 16 In Borno

Army Troops, Boko Haram, BornoNigerian Army troops have repelled an attack on their positions by remnants of Boko Haram terrorists at Rann in Kala Balge Local Government Area (LGA) of Borno State.

In a statement, the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, said a total of 16 terrorists were killed in the initial assault and during mop-up operations.

Two soldiers died after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a gun truck, and five others were wounded in action.

The statement added that two of the terrorists were captured alive, while the troops recovered a General Purpose Machine-Gun, Rocket Propelled Grenade and various ammunitions.

According to Colonel Usman, the attackers had stormed the area on motorcycles armed with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), anti-aircraft guns and other weapons.

The bodies of the dead soldiers and those wounded in action have been evacuated to Maiduguri, while reinforcements have been sent in from Gomboru Ngala.

In a related development, troops also discovered and safely detonated two IEDs planted along Gomboru – Rann road.

The statement noted that the IEDs were planted earlier to prevent troops reinforcements getting to Rann while the attack lasted.

The Commanding Officer of Three Battalion has visited the troops and held a durbar with them.

He commended them for their doggedness during attack and also urged them not to lower their guards.

Despite the incident, the troops’ morale remains very high and they have continued with their clearance operations.

Nigerian Troops Arrest Four Boko Haram Kingpins

Boko HaramThe Nigerian Army has announced the arrest of four men suspected to be specialized in illegal trades and other criminal activities to sustain the Boko Haram terrorists.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman made this known in a statement on Friday.

“Troops of 3 Battalion, of 22 Task Force Brigade have made an unprecedented catch with the arrest of 4 Boko Haram terrorists Ameers (kingpins) at Rann, headquarters of Kala Balge Local Government Area today, Friday 22nd April 2016.

“The arrested kingpins specialized on various aspects of criminality to sustain the Boko Haram terrorists group in their areas.

“The four terrorists were arrested following a tip off by well-meaning members of the public.

“Subsequently, the troops conducted a cordon and search operation in the general area that led to the apprehension of the terrorist leaders, who contribute to the sustenance of the insurgency through their illegal trade specialization.

“The arrested kingpins include Umara Mai Gyaran Rediyo (Radio Technician), Umaru Mai Nama, (who specialize in cattle rustling and sales), Alifa Makinta (a specialist on stealing foodstuffs) and Balu Jugudum (in charge of stolen jewelleries).

“Presently the suspects are undergoing interrogation,” the statement read.