By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Defence Headquarters, Friday,attributed the January 17,2017, erroneous airstrike of Internally Displaced Persons , IDPS, near the Camp at Rann in Kala-Balge Local Government Area, Borno State, by the Nigerian Air Force, to lack of appropriate marking of the area, near the camp where the IDPs were struck.
It said the location was not reflected in the operational map as a humanitarian base.
The DHQ said since the normal pattern for Boko Haram terrorists to form up, before attacking innocent civilians and troops is to amass, the event camp which it noted,was not captured in the humanitarian map,was mistaken as a Boko Haram terrorists settlement.
Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche,who addressed the media,in Abuja,said the air strike on the IDPs was a mistake.
”The main reason that caused the unfortunate airstrike near the IDPs camp at Rann, was lack of appropriate marking of the area, near the Camp where the IDPs were struck.
”Hitherto, people were not expected to amass at that location.
“Furthermore, the location was not reflected in the operational map as a humanitarian base.
“The normal pattern for Boko Haram Terrorists to form up, before attacking innocent civilians and troops is to amass.
“Hence, it appeared as a place that could equally be used for enemy activities,”Enenche explained.
According to him,”when mass movement was noticed through aerial satellite observation, it was taken for Boko Haram Terrorists activity, which needed to be neutralized with speed.”
He said in order to forestall the ugly development, the committee which probed the incident recommended that henceforth:”All locations where humanitarian activities take place in the Theatre of operation should be marked appropriately for ground and aerial identification in line with international best practices.”
”The geographical and spatial coordinates of all areas of humanitarian activities within the Theatre, should be provided to the Theatre Command Headquarters.
”There should be timely and mandatory exchange of information between stakeholders, for all activities in the Theatre of operation,”the committee, according to him, also advised.
Recall that following the incident,the Defence Headquarters had constituted Boards of Inquiry to investigate the incidents and come up with their reports.
However, some of the services and commands who were directly affected also constituted their boards of inquiry in line with service regulations.