By OKOSUN DENNIS
Six months after the Nigerian Air Force jet bombed the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) near the Camp at Rann in Kala-Balge Local Government Area, Borno State, on 17 January 2017, the military has absolved the pilot of blame but rather blamed “lack of appropriate marking of the area.”
National Daily recalls that an Airforce jet had on 17 January, 2017 bombarded IDP camp killing close to 200 persons and injuring scores; after the component was given directives by the former Theatre Commander, Maj Gen Irabor to liberate the area suspected to be populated by Boko Haram insurgents.
Unveiling the reports of investigative panel set up to look at the remote cause of the bombing and proffer solution, the Director, Defence Information (DDI), Maj Gen John Eneche said the main cause of the unfortunate airstrike near the IDP camp at Rann, was lack of appropriate marking of the area, near the camp where the IDPs were struck.
The Defence spokesperson noted that people were not expected to mass up at that location. Moreover, he added, “the location was not reflected in the operational map as a humanitarian base.
The DDI who also gave reports of the finding of the army and police personnel clash in Damaturu on April 11, 2017 and the clash between aaval personnel and police in Calabar on 30 May, 2017 apportion blame were necessary as uncovered by the various investigative panels.
Gen Eneche explained that following the developments, the Defence Headquarters decided to constitute Boards of Inquiry to investigate the incidents and come up with their reports.
He observed that some of the Services and commands who were directly affected also constituted their Boards of Inquiry in line with service regulations.
National Daily learnt that based on the ethics and best military practices, all the reports were harnessed by a final Board at the Defence Headquarters, in order to have a clear picture of the incidents as they unfolded.
“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.
“When mass movement was noticed through aerial satellite observation, it was taken for Boko Haram Terrorists activity, which needed to be neutralized with speed,” Gen Eneche reiterated.
While making recommendations with a view to avoiding future happenings, Defence headquarters averred that in the future, 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.
In addition, National Daily gathered that “the geographical and spatial coordinates of all areas of humanitarian activities within the Theatre, should be provided to the Theatre Command Headquarters.
Besides, Gen Eneche reiterated that there should be timely and mandatory exchange of information between stakeholders, for all activities in the Theatre of operation.