Victims of Yobe Accidental Airstrikes By Nigerian Air Force Demand Compensation

Families of victims of Wednesday’s harrowing aerial shooting by the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet targeting Boko Haram fighters in Yobe State have called on the federal government to pay them compensation.

They hinged their request on the fact that unlike other climes, governments at all levels in Nigeria rarely pay compensation to victims of collateral damage.

According to Daily Trust, at least nine people died in Yobe during the latest incident, while more than 20 sustained injuries when the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet mistook them for terrorists.

The victims were drawn from Buwari, Bulabulin, Matari, Malari and Kajinjiri.

Among the eight people that died were three elderly men and a woman who left behind children and dependants. Four children also lost their lives in the incident and some houses were reportedly destroyed. 

While some of the victims were on their way to farms, others were caught in the cobweb on their way to a weekly market in Geidam.

Some locals believed that the shooting at the civilian population was an error. They said even though it was destined to happen, they called for compensation, in addition to the support given to those receiving treatment in hospitals.

The Nigerian Air Force has also admitted that its aircraft was responsible for the accidental shooting. 

In a statement on Thursday, the air force spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, admitted that some shots were fired from a military aircraft.

“Following intelligence on Boko Haram/ISWAP movements along the Komadugu Yobe River line, an aircraft from the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai was detailed to respond to the suspected terrorists’ activities in the area, along the Nigeria/Niger border at 0600hrs on September 15, 2021.

“The aircraft, while operating at the south of Kanamma, observed suspicious movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorists’ behaviour whenever a jet is overhead.

“Accordingly, the pilot fired some probing shots. It is important to state that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities,” he said.

Like in many other incidents, the air force did not speak on compensation for the victims, even though it said a panel had been set up to investigate the issue.

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