Dipo Laleye in Minna
No fewer than 8,150 persons were displaced from Galadima-Kogo and environs in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State when a Nigeria Air Force (NAF) aircraft bombed the area on January 24, the state government has confirmed.
Many members of a vigilance group in the area were killed, while their commander sustained serious injuries when a NAF jet bombed the area, which also hosts Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The Secretary to Niger State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, said in Minna yesterday that the aircraft, which belongs to the NAF, was not aware that security personnel were in the area.
He added that it was not a mysterious aircraft as speculated.
Matane said the state government had discussed with the Shiroro Local Government Council officials and the management of the North South Power (NSP) that provide shelter for the IDPs.
“We are doing assessment to deal with the matter and we are also dealing with the issue of those who lost their lives from the angle of security personnel that were accidentally affected.
“We have recorded some deaths and are attending to the injured in hospitals.
“Relief materials are being processed for the victims and the government wants to ensure that security is provided at the IDP camps,’’ he said.
One of the displaced victims, Hajiya Rabi Musa, stated that the residents saw the aircraft flying and later heard a very loud bang that shook the area.
“Many of our people were killed, aside from the vigilante members. We ran to take shelter at the NSP facilities; right now no single person is left in our community; it is deserted.
“Since we came here, nobody has come to our aid; not even a single government official. We don’t have water to drink, not even to take our bath; we are suffering,’’ she said.
Youth Leader in Galadima-Kogo, Malam Ibrahim Bahago, said the community was told on Tuesday that bandits were going through the area.
He said vigilantes went through the route the bandits were passing through in company of other security operatives, but were ambushed.
“Our vigilantes were ambushed and the next thing we heard was a very loud sound and it was a bomb thrown at the vigilantes protecting us. Many of them died.
“Since we came here, no government official has come to our aid.
Bahago accused the state government of neglecting the victims.