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Nigeria’s Chief Of Air Staff Meets With Families, Victims Of Doma Accidental Airstrikes

Nigeria’s Chief Of Air Staff Meets With Families, Victims Of Doma Accidental Airstrikes

Princess-Ekwi Ajide  Abuja

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar has met with families and victims of the accidental air strikes that occurred on 24 January, 2023 near Rukubi in Doma Local Government Area (LGA), in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State.

The Chief of Air Staff at the meeting, stated that having reviewed the incident reports concerning the air strikes that were undertaken in pursuit of terrorists near Rukubi, innocent civilians may have erroneously been killed or injured in the process.

He expressed regret over the incident, noting that the unfortunate incident was not deliberate but had targeted suspected terrorists and cattle rustlers in view of the heightened level of insecurity in the area at the time.

Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the primary responsibility of the force remains to safeguard the lives and properties of all Nigerians and would not deliberately engage in acts that could put the lives of Nigerians at risk.

He told the families and victims that the interface reflects their commitment to conflict resolution and reconciliation and a step towards addressing grievances, fostering understanding as well as rebuilding trust between the NAF and the civilian population.

Air Marshal Abubakar had earlier met with the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engineer Abdullahi Sule where he solicited his support in interfacing with the representatives of the victims, which according to him, will assist in answering some important questions, promote accountability, transparency and allow Nigerian Air Force to learn valuable lessons to mitigate similar incidences in the future.

He noted that the need for accountability and transparency, signals their commitment to taking responsibility and humanitarian concerns for civilians negatively affected by ongoing air operations.

Responding, Governor Sule expressed delight at the visit and commended the Chief Air Staff for revisiting the earlier report of the incident and for his efforts at making amends.

According to him, “This is the first time a military organization is owing up to mistakes committed over a year ago, and I must commend you immensely.

The fact that you have come personally and want a closure on this matter is the peak of professionalism worthy of emulation and commendation.”

At the meeting between the CAS, victims and the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammed I, the Emir praised the CAS for taking the initiative to make amends saying, that they have wholeheartedly accepted his apology since he came to meet with them and accept responsibility for what happened a year ago describing the gesture as exemplary and something other leaders must imbibe.

Recall that on 24 January 2023, air strikes by NAF aircraft were undertaken after intelligence revealed the sighting of suspected terrorists on 10 motorcycles transiting through Utagudu, near Rukubi in Doma LGA, an area that was generally well known for its heightened insecurity occasioned by killings, kidnappings and terrorism as perpetrated by terrorists’ elements in the State.

A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet notes that within the period, 6 primary school pupils were also kidnapped in Doma LGA.

The statement further notes that unfortunately, the strikes had accidentally killed some innocent civilians at the location, which necessitated the visit of the CAS to Nasarawa State to make amends.


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