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Kaduna: Army Chief apologises for accidental bombing as Tinubu orders probe

Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff and Other Officlas During the Visit to Community Leaders in Kaduna

*Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, days the unfortunate bombing incident was ‘grave, regrettable’, assuring the people the Nigerian Army ‘will do everything possible to prevent such an occurrence from happening again in the conduct of our operations’

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tuesday, December 5, 2023, described the deadly airstrike that about 120 people, and injured several others in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, as regrettable.

It was gathered Gen. Lagbaja stated this while on condolence visit to the state, and visited the scene of the mishap that has thrown the country into a sorrowful mood.

The COAS, on behalf of the Nigerian Army (NA), while in the Igabi area of the North-West state, where the accident happened, also apologised to the community, the government, and the people of Kaduna State over the unfortunate incident.

Lagbaja promised to guard against such an occurrence in the conduct of military operations in Nigeria.

He reportedly stated: “My assessment of that unfortunate incident of Sunday, December 3, 2023, is that it is grave, regrettable.

“We will do everything possible to prevent such an occurrence from happening again in the conduct of our operations going forward.”

Moments after the incident occurred on Kaduna, there was confusion that trailed Sunday’s accidental air strike with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), as the Force said it was not responsible for the bombing.

However, the Kaduna State Government later announced the Nigerian Army (NA) had taken responsibility for the accident.

The army chief was accompanied by Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division and also met with the Dangaladima Zazau, the District Head of Rigasa, Architect Aminu Idris, other leaders, and members of the community.

About 120 people were killed in an airstrike by the Nigerian Army at Tudun Biri village in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, in one of the country’s deadliest military bombing accidents, according to report.

Meanwhile, Halima Suleiman, Spokesperson for the North-West Zone  of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said that 66 other victims were also injured in Sunday’s bombing.

Suleiman said the fatality figure was got from the local authorities after the burial of the victims Monday, Channels TV report stated.

Airstrikes against bandit militias, jihadists

Report indicates the Nigerian Armed Forces usually, have relied on air strikes in their battle against so-called bandit militias in the North-West and North-East of the country, where jihadists have been fighting for over a decade.

However, such airstrikes have not been without controversies and accidental bombings and alleged miscalculations, with innocent Nigerians, including soldiers as casualties, report said.

Earlier in 2023, NAF took responsibility over a fatal airstrike on Kwatiri, a Nasarawa village. At least 39 persons were killed and six others injured in the airstrike that occurred 24 January.

In 2021, about 20 soldiers on the ground were allegedly slain in Mainok, Borno State, when a NAF fighter jet responding to attacks on a military camp by Boko Haram insurgents bombed the military camp based on a wrong coordinate.

Tinubu orders probe of Kaduna bombing incident

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Tuesday also ordered an investigation after the Nigerian Army had acknowledged that one of its drones accidentally struck Tudun Biri village as residents were celebrating a Muslim festival.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Tuesday stated: “President Tinubu describes the incident as very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful, expressing indignation and grief over the tragic loss of Nigerian lives.”

Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State also ordered a full investigation into Sunday’s incident. The governor reassured Kaduna State citizens of their security, and that their protection would be prioritised in the sustained fight against terrorists, bandits, and other criminal elements in the state.

While directing the immediate evacuation of the injured to the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital for emergency medical attention, the governor disclosed that The Kaduna State Government would be responsible for their treatment and related logistics.

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