Garba Shehu, one of the spokesperson for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that local authorities in Rann, Borno State are who say that 236 people were killed in the deadly airstrikes on an Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camp should be believed.
When the unfortunate incident took place, the Nigerian authorities said that 4 people had died. International aid agencies like Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) and International Committee of the Red Cross working at the camp said that 54 people died. The figure from aid agencies quickly rose to 170.
Babagana Malarima, president of Kala-Balge government in Borno State where Rann is located, disclosed in a forum with the chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai last Friday that “from what the people who buried the dead victims with their hands told me, not those who treated the wounded, they buried 234 dead.”
The president’s spokesperson, during an appearance on Channels TV, on Monday, January 23, 2017, hinted that the presidency has adopted the casualty figures presented by the local official in Rann.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian military is avoiding providing more information on this incident which it claims was an accidental bombing.
“The most important thing is that we are saddened by the incident. It’s an operational error and we are sorry about it. It can happen in operations,” Rabe Abubakar, the spokesperson of the Defence Information.
“Even internationally, it has happened in Syria and Afghanistan.”
Eyewitnesses disprove the claim that the airstrike was accidental saying that the IDP camp was bombed three times.
Abdulwahab Adam, who spoke to the Punch at the General Hospital, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 said, “The bombs were dropped on us thrice and there was no way a mistake could be made thrice.”
“There was nothing accidental about the attack and it could not be referred to as a mistake,” the middle-aged man said.
“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.