The Nigerian Air Force has admitted carrying out airstrikes on Buhari village in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State.
In a statement obtained on Thursday, signed by NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Edward Gabkwet, the Air Force said it carried out the strike based on intelligence reports.
It would be recalled that reports had emerged on Wednesday that the Air Force carried out airstrike on Boko Haram elements in the village, killing about nine civilians.
It was gathered that the village was reportedly used as a hideout by Boko Haram and ISWAP members.
According to the report, the terrorists had used the village as a camp from where they attack both Yunusari and Gaidam areas of the state
But the Air Force on that same Wednesday denied such operation took place.
In a terse statement, Gabkwet said: “The NAF last conducted a mission into Yobe State (not Yunusari LGA) on 5 September 2021 and it was an armed recce. No bomb or missile was even expended. Thanks.”
But NAF on Thursday said it’s aircraft spotted movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorists behaviour whenever a Jet is overhead before opening fire.
While admitting receiving reports that innocent citizens had been killed, NAF stated that a board of inquiry has been commissioned to carry out an investigation into the incident.
The statement reads: “Following intelligence on Boko Haram/ISWAP movements along the Kamadougou 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 about 0600hrs on 15 September 2021.
“The aircraft while operating South of Kanama observed suspicious movement consistent with Boko Haram terrorists behaviour whenever a Jet aircraft 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.
“Unfortunately reports reaching Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Headquarters alleged that some civilians were erroneously killed while others were injured.
“Initial release denying the involvement of NAF aircraft was based on the first report available to the Air Component which was subsequently forwarded to NAF headquarters that civilians were bombed as the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs.
“Therefore a Board of Inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the incident. Thank you.”