After initially denying that it killed civilians in Buhari community of Yunusari of Yobe State, the Nigerian Air Force has admitted that its fighter jet killed nine persons.
Some other villagers sustained injuries and are still receiving medical attention at a government health facility in Geidam.
In a statement, Edward Gabkwet, an Air Commodore and Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, said a Board of Inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the fatal shootings.
His statement reads: “Following intelligence on Boko Haram/ISWAP movements along the Kamadougou Yobe River line, an aircraft from the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai was detailed to respond to the suspected terrorists activities in the area along the Nigeria/Niger border at about 0600hrs on 15 September 2021.
“The aircraft while operating South of Kanama observed suspicious movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorists behaviour whenever a Jet aircraft is overhead.
“Accordingly, the pilot fired some probing shots. It is important to state that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities. Unfortunately reports reaching Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Headquarters alleged that some civilians were erroneously killed while others were injured.
“Initial release denying the involvement of NAF aircraft was based on the first report available to the Air Component which was subsequently forwarded to NAF headquarters that civilians were bombed as the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs. Therefore a Board of Inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident.”
Reports by community people said the jet shot into the village early Wednesday as the people prepared to go the market in Geidam Town.
One of them said, “the villagers were already set to go to the market at Geidam early in the morning when, suddenly, the jet appeared from nowhere and started shelling the village.
“Instantly, three people died. The sound of gunshots scared the villagers and they ran for safety, but others sustained injuries as a result.
“Some of the injured were attempting to tend to the dead people when they also got hit by bullets from the jet.
“As of 5 pm on Wednesday, the number of dead people had risen to nine, while over 30 people sustained injuries and are receiving treatment at Geidam General Hospital,” Ibrahim disclosed.
“Buhari village is in Yunusari local government, but Buhari village is closer to Geidam and the entire Yunusari local government doesn’t have facilities to attend to the injured victims.”