Some soldiers have been killed after a fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force reportedly fired a bomb on ground troops in Mainok, Borno state.
Military sources revealed that the air force “accidentally” hit the wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents who had attacked the troops on Sunday.
Edward Gabkwet, air force spokesman said the incident is being investigated when he was contacted on Monday. The army also in a tweet on their official handle said it is investigating the alleged incident and that the general public will be duly updated as soon as the investigation is concluded.
The tweet read, “The attention of the @NigAirForce 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 being investigated and the general 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.”
The insurgents had attacked a military base in Mainok and reportedly overpowered the troops who called for reinforcement.
The truck which was sent for reinforcement was targeted and shelled by the air strike following a flawed intelligence, sources said.
One of the soldiers in the affected area disclosed that: “They (Boko Haram) came with heavy machines, about four MRAPS (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicles and they overpowered the ground troops.
“Troops sent signals for air support and when they came, it missed the main coordinates; where the air force shelled their bomb was on the location of troops instead of that of Boko Haram.
“The aircraft had to turn back. They realised that they mistargeted (and) most of the soldiers started running inside the bush.”
Gabkwet also said he also saw a video from the affected scene and that the air force is investigating the matter.
Airforce killed our ground soldiers thinking they were Boko Haram.
This is usually the outcome of recruiting or taking soldiers and officers by godfatherism… Killing own troops… pic.twitter.com/I9uMSiHnU0
— Shehu Zubairu (@ShehuZubair) April 26, 2021
“All I can say is that the matter is being investigated. It is not a matter that we can just quickly give answers to,” the air force spokesman said during a phone interview.
The incident happened about a year after the air force “mistakenly” bombed a village in Damboa LGA of Borno, killing 17 people including women and children.
A similar incident occurred in January 2017 when the air force killed more than 100 internally displaced persons (IDPs) during an accidental bombing.