John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State government has confirmed Sunday night’s killing in Tudun Birni community, Igabi Local Government Area of the state, saying the incident inadvertently occurred during a routine mission against terrorists by the Nigerian Army.
There were reports that the incident was caused by a bomb blast allegedly dropped by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet.
However, the NAF had distanced itself from the unfortunate incident, saying none of its aircraft had been flown anywhere in Kaduna State in the last 24 hours.
Reports had it that the villagers were commemorating the birthday of Prophet Mohammed when the jet dropped the bomb leading to the death of many people.
However, in a statement, NAF spokesman, Edward Gabkwet, said the news attributing the incident to NAF is false.
“Please be informed that the NAF has not carried out any air operations within Kaduna State and environs in the last 24 hours.
“Also, note that the NAF is not the only organization operating combat armed drones in the North-western region of Nigeria.
“It is also important to ensure that due diligence is always exhausted by the media before going to press with unverified and unconfirmed reports,” he said.
Meanwhile, Samuel Aruwan, the Overseeing Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, in a statement Monday after an emergency security meeting at the Government House, Kaduna, disclosed the Nigerian Army’s role in the unfortunate incident.
Although Aruwan did not give details of the death casualty, sources from the community said over 30 people were killed.
Aruwan said dozens of injured victims have been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the state government, adding that search-and-rescue efforts were still ongoing.
“The Kaduna State Government has received briefings on Sunday night’s attack which left several citizens dead and others injured,” Aruwan said.
According to him, the meeting presided over by Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, the deputy governor, had heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders in attendance.
According to Aruwan, “The Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack.
“The General Officer Commanding (GOC) One Division, Nigerian Army, Major VU Okoro, explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists, but inadvertently affected members of the community.
“The Deputy Governor at the end of the closed door meeting, conveyed the condolences of the Government and people of Kaduna State to the families that lost their loved ones and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls.
“As of the time of this update, search-and-rescue efforts are still ongoing, as dozens of injured victims have been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the government.
“Heads of security agencies who attended the meeting include the Commissioner of Police, M. Y. Garba, and Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Abdul Eneche.
“The Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of Jam’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Professor Shafi’u Abdullahi, led other religious leaders.
“Also present at the meeting was the District Head of Rigasa, Alhaji Aminu Idris, in whose domain the incident occurred.”