January 21, 2019

Rann bombing: Falana accuses NAF of cover-up, demands compensation for victims

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Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has called on National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to compensate victims of the accidental bombing in Rann, Borno State.

Femi Falana

At least 120 people were wounded and 52 killed in January 2017 when a Nigerian Air Force jet accidentally bombed internally displaced persons, IDPs, camp in the town.

In a letter dated January 17, 2019, addressed to the executive secretary of the commission, Falana called for further investigation, accusing the air force of trying to cover up the humanitarian disaster.

The letter read: “Instead of reporting the tragic incident to the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, which is saddled with the responsibility of investigating aircraft accidents in Nigeria, the authorities of the Nigerian Air Force decided suo motu to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the bombing of the IDPs camp.

“Although the report of the inquiry was not made public, the Nigerian Air Force blamed the bombing of the camp on an accident.

“Apart from expressing its deepest regrets to all concerned, the NAF promised that all necessary measures would be taken to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate incident.

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‘’However, the tragic incident cannot be blamed on failure to mark the camp in an area that is fully controlled by the army.”

He said having confirmed that the air force pilots were aware of the IDPs camp at Rann, the failure to mark it cannot explain the negligence of the pilots involved in the bombing incident.

“Regrettably, the cry of the council chairman, Mr. Malarima, for payment of compensation to the families of the deceased, as well as the injured ones has fallen on deaf ears,” he said.