Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) last night said the latest video released by terrorist group, Boko Haram, alleging the killing of some of the abducted Chibok school girls by its fighter jets was not only a ruse but another mischievous effort by the sect to draw public attention to itself.
In a statement signed by the Director of Public Relation and Media, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, it said whereas the video showed a cross-section of the abducted girls and an airborne aircraft, it provided no evidence that the supposed casualties were as a result of any air to ground attack.
It added: ‘’More so, there is sufficient evidence to believe that the casualties were arranged as the positioning of the bodies clearly defiles any natural setting of a location that has undergone aerial bombardment.
“Besides, the impact and accompanying degree of damage to the bodies would have been more, were they to have died from air strike.
“It is therefore clear that the video is a make-up story to discredit the NAF, and more importantly, a deliberate effort to weep up sentiment among the public in order to dissuade and discontinue the use of airpower which has proved very effective as the major determinant factor in the successes recorded in the on-going counterinsurgency operations in the North-east.’’
The NAF further said it had put in place a number of measures to avoid the incidence of collateral damage, adding that considerable effort was committed to undertaking intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, both day and night, to ensure that only legitimate military targets are engaged.
‘’Besides, NAF ISR platforms carry highly sophisticated equipment on-board which are able to provide pin-point accurate intelligence about target location and description as depicted in the enclosed video on our ISR operations,’’ it added.
‘”And where there are doubts about target status, we do not undertake strike missions. In any case, the NAF, being a professional fighting force, has not and will not engage in unprofessional practices in discharging its statutory duties.’’
The NAF assured Nigerians, living within the vicinity of its operations of their safety, while also urging them to disregard the terrorists’ video as a mere propaganda.
According to the statement, “The NAF wishes to use this opportunity to restate its commitment to restoration of peace in the North East and other troubled areas in the country.’’