Nine civilians were killed on Wednesday following an airstrike on Buwari community in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State, authorities have said.
The airstrike which locals and the government believe was an accidental fire by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), also left 23 people injured.
Confirming the development, Secretary to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mohammed Goje, said two of the victims who were critically injured have been transferred to the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital for further treatment.
Goje, who spoke to journalists on Thursday in Damaturu shortly after visiting the victims in Geidam, said all medical expenses have been taken care of by the state government.
He also revealed that the administration has provided food items for the victims’ families and has taken an inventory of the affected households for further necessary actions.
‘We Will Work Closely With NAF’
Earlier, Governor Mai Mala Buni commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives and pledged to join hands with the security agencies to unravel the root cause of the incident.
According to him, the government is prepared to work with all security forces to ensure the safety of the residents and to provide a conducive atmosphere for economic activities.
“The government will work closely with the security forces, especially the Nigerian Air Force to establish what actually happened,” the governor promised.
He explained that such a move was important, to forestall future occurrences.
NAF Makes U-Turn
When initial reports emerged on Wednesday, suggesting that a fighter jet belonging to NAF had attacked civilians in Yobe State, military authorities denied the claims.
But NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, later affirmed that a fighter jet had been deployed to the region, following intelligence regarding terrorists’ movements along the Kamadougou Yobe River line.
These movements, Commodore Gabkwet said, were consistent with what is obtainable when terrorists sight a jet aircraft overhead.
Gabkwet added that accordingly, “the pilot fired some probing shots”, adding that “the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities”.
While describing the reported civilian casualty as unfortunate, he explained that the previous reports were denied because the incident was tagged ‘bombardment’.
According to the commodore, the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs and a board of inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident.