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Accidental Bombing not reflection of NAF’s Professionalism-Mohammed **As UNICEF urges investigations of Bombing.

Information and Culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as tragic the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann, Borno State, by a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet, causing deaths and injuries.

A statement in Abuja by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide expressed the minister’s condolences to the families of those who died in the unfortunate bombing and prays for quick recovery for the injured.

Alhaji Mohammed, who recently led members of the BBOG and the media to Yola, where the Air Component of the fight against Boko Haram is based, said he was particularly saddened because the accidental bombing is not a true reflection of the level of professionalism that he witnessed during the visit

”One of the things we went away with after spending some two days at the Tactical Air Command in Yola is the strict adherence to operational guidelines and the high level of professionalism of the officers and men, especially the young pilots who fly high-risk missions day and night.

”Among others, we witnessed pre- and post-mission briefings for the pilots, the high attention paid to details, especially concerning emergencies and weather, and the evacuation plan in case of accidents.

“We heard that on several occasions during their sorties, fighter pilots have had to hold their fire after observing the movement of women and children in Sambisa.

“We also witnessed the same careful disposition when we flew to Sambisa with the pilots.

”It therefore came to me as a rude shock to learn, a few hours after leaving Yola, that one of the fighter jets has accidentally bombed civilians, including aid workers,” he said.

Mohammed urged the NAF to continue to take the necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties, as it carries out its challenging task of keeping Nigerians safe

Meantime, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on the Nigerian Government to thoroughly investigate the accidental bombing of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp in Rann, Borno state that left several people including humanitarian workers dead.

In a coordinated attack on a supposed group of terrorists gathering in Kala Balge Local Government Area of the state, a NAF jet accidentally bombed the IDP camp leaving civilians including staff of humanitarian agencies dead.

UNICEF Director for Emergency programmes, Manuel Fontaine in a statement lamented the bombing noting that the tragic accident will further compound the sufferings of the people in the remote immunity in the northeast Nigeria

He said “we welcome the Nigerian Government’s decision to investigate how this shocking incident came to pass.”

“UNICEF is deeply concerned by the loss of life in Tuesday’s tragic incident in Rann, Borno State. Our thoughts are with all those who were injured”.

Fontaine said the deaths, in the remote area of northeastern Nigeria, where protracted conflict has caused extreme suffering and triggered a severe malnutrition crisis, underline the importance of protecting civilians in complex humanitarian emergencies.

“UNICEF stands in solidarity with our humanitarian colleagues, and the dangerous conditions they work in. The aid workers who lost their lives were working to save others.

“UNICEF remains committed to deliver aid to the more than four million children and their families in the region who are in desperate need of help,” Fontaine said in the statement.

Also, the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, observed a minute silence in honour of the over 100 persons alleged to have died in the accidental bombing.

This was followed by a Point of Order raised during Wednesday’s plenary by the Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan, premised on the accidental bombing.

The Deputy Senate President Ekweremadu who presided over the session, however, expressed sincere condolences of the Nigerian Senate to the affected civilians, praying that there would not be a recurrence of such grave mistake in the country in the future.

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