Air Force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed men of the Nigerian Army on Sunday, killing over 20 officers, a military source has said.
The soldiers who were reinforced from Ngandu village were said to be on their way to Mainok, headquarters of the Kaga Local Government Area of Borno state which was under attack by militants from the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād.
SaharaReporters had on Sunday reported how the gunmen attacked a Nigerian Army location at 156 Battalion in the community, killing over 30 soldiers.
The terrorists who came in no fewer than 15 gun trucks also burnt down the military base.
A source told SaharaReporters that a reinforcement team of the Nigerian Army sent to the community was mistakenly bombed by an Air Force fighter jet.
“The Boko Haram terrorists disguised in military uniform and gained access to the camp. They came in different groups and could not be counted. The Nigerian Army were pinned down, they requested for reinforcement, the reinforcement got on their way only to get smoked by the Nigerian Airforce.
“The (reinforcement team) was coming from Ngandu and were killed by an airstrike. The Air Force mistook them for Boko Haram as both were cladded in similar military uniform and operational vehicles,” a source said.
Villagers in the past have reported some civilian casualties in near-daily bombardments in North Eastern Nigeria.
Recently, a military jet that came to repel an attack by Boko Haram dropped a bomb that landed in a compound where civilians were holding a naming ceremony.
Some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 and freed last year also said three of their classmates were killed by Air Force bombardments.
AIR FORCE REPLIES
“The attention of the Nigerian Air Force has been drawn to reports alleging “How NAF Killed over 20 Nigerian Army Personnel by Accident in Air Strike” at Mainok which is about 55km to Maiduguri.”
“The NAF wishes to state that visuals and reports been circulated are been investigated and the generally public will be duly updated on the alleged incident.”
“All enquiries should please be directed to the Office of the Director of Public Relations and Information, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force or forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
—Nigerian Air Force