The Military High Command in Abuja has said the the Nigerian Airforce bombardment of Rann IDP camp on January 17, 2017 which claimed the lives of about 80 persons was a fatal mistake that cannot be blamed on the NAF.
According to the Defence headquarters, the bombing which occurred at Kala-Balge Local Government Area, Borno State was caused by lack of appropriate marking of the area, near the IDP camp.
Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche who gave the explanation while speaking in outcome of boards on inquiries set up on the Rann Bombing and the Calabar clash between the Navy and Police, said the location was not reflected in the operational map as a humanitarian base.
Enenche stated that since the standard expected practice was for Boko Haram terrorists to mobilize and form up, before launching attacks on victims, the IDP camp was not captured in the humanitarian map, hence it was mistaken as a Boko Haram terrorists settlement.
The DDI said, “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”.
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.
Eneche however disclosed that steps taken to avert such ugly development in future are thus, “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”.
Following the incident and the outcry that ensued, DHQ constituted Boards of Inquiry to investigate the incidents and come up with their reports. Individual services also did same.