One of the Internally Displaced Persons in Rann, Borno State, who survived the accidental bombing of the camp on Tuesday, said the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet involved in the operation dropped bombs on the camp three times.
Abdulwahab Adam, who spoke to news men at the General Hospital, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, on Wednesday, said, “The bombs were dropped on us thrice and there was no way a mistake could be made thrice.
Tragedy had struck on Tuesday, when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, killing no fewer than 100 persons on the ground.
Top Naija findings also revealed that numerous aid killed in the bombing included the officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), International Committee of the Red Cross and some refugees.
“There was nothing accidental about the attack and it could not be referred to as a mistake.
“The Federal Government should stop telling Nigerians that it was a mistake; for this was not. It was nothing but an unprovoked attack on a civilian populace.
“This was not a new camp and the attack happened when people queued up to receive humanitarian materials.
Another victim of the attack, Abba Yusuf, believed the NAF had to explain what led to the attack.
He added, “This is the same force that told the world that they did not drop the bomb on insurgents in the Sambisa Forest because of human shield but weeks later, dropped bombs on unarmed civilians in an IDPs’ camp.
“Could they have been blindfolded to know that we were in a queue and we were unarmed or could they have mistaken the IDPs camp for the haven of insurgents?”
One of the people, who trooped to the hospital to visit their relatives who sustained injuries in the attack, Yakubu Hassan, said, “This is really unfortunate. I came to the hospital to get information about my brother, Babangida Hassan, only to be told that he was killed in the attack.”
He said his brother was a 35 year-old ad-hoc worker with the Nigerian Red Cross.
He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the “negligent” pilot was brought to book.
He lamented that the deceased left behind two wives and over 30 other dependants.
“How do you want them to be taken care of now?” he asked.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government dispatched a high-powered delegation, led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, to condole with the government and people of Borno State and the international aid agencies affected in the attack.
In the delegation were two ministers – retired Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali (Defence); and Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture).
Others are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Kyari delivered the government’s message to the state Governor, Kashim Shettima; the Shehu of Dikwa, Alhaji Mohammed El-Kanemi, and the injured international aid workers at the hospital.
He said, “We are in Maiduguri at the instance of President Buhari to come over and condole with the people and government of Borno State over the unfortunate air strike that took place at Rann town’s IDP Camp on Tuesday, leaving many innocent people dead and others wounded.”
He assured the people that the Nigerian Armed forces would ensure that such incidents did not occur again.
Kyari said the Federal Government would bear the cost of the treatment of all those wounded and who are receiving attention at hospitals in Maiduguri and its environs.
Shettima, who thanked the delegation for the condolence visit, acknowledged the sacrifices of the Armed Forces and the Federal Government in the fight against Boko Haram.
He added that with prayers, zeal, determination and commitment of the military and other security agencies, peace was gradually returning to the state.
Shettima stated that had commenced the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs.
24 hours after, 90 critically-injured victims yet to be evacuated
Meanwhile, no fewer than 90 critically-injured victims of the Rann attack were yet to be evacuated from the area on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after the accidental strikes.
The PUNCH learnt that 46 of them were supposed to be flown to Maiduguri, which had the facilities required for their treatments, but they had yet to be evacuated as of press time.
According to a statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday, a surgical team had been deployed in Rann to assist with the 90 injured IDPs, who were in an “open-air space in a precarious environment.”
The ICRC added that 100 patients were sighted at the camp, among which only nine were airlifted to Maiduguri on Tuesday.
It added, “Hours after the air strike, a surgical team from the ICRC deployed in Rann, and another ICRC surgical team in Maiduguri, prepared to support the Ministry of Health in receiving casualties.
“The team in Rann triaged around 100 patients, while nine patients in critical condition were evacuated by helicopter to Maiduguri.
“Around 90 patients remain in Rann, out of whom 46 are severely injured and need to be evacuated to Maiduguri as a matter of urgency. Patients are attended to in an open-air space in a precarious environment.”
An ICRC surgeon in Rann, Dr. Laurent Singa, confirmed that the patients at the Rann needed urgent evacuation.
He said, “We started medical work in Rann shortly after the incident. The conditions for post-operative care are not adequate. So, all the patients must be evacuated to Maiduguri as soon as possible.”
The Head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria, Eloi Fillion, said the Federal Government must ensure that such tragedy did not reoccur, adding that the ICRC would continue its humanitarian services to the IDPs.
The ICRC and the Red Crescent Movement said it extended its heartfelt condolences to the families of all those killed or injured, including those affiliated to the Médecins Sans Frontières.
The Human Rights Watch also on Wednesday called for compensation for the victims of the IDPs camp bombing.
A senior researcher with the HRW in Nigeria, Mausi Segun, said the compensation must be “prompt, adequate and effective.”AD: WAEC SUCCESS GUARANTEED! Gain access to FREE PAST QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS of WASSCE [CLICK HERE]
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