Air Force investigates many soldiers killed in Borno airstrikes, attack
An investigation into the reported killing of soldiers in airstrikes has been commenced by the Nigerian Air Force.
Over 20 soldiers were allegedly slain when a NAF fighter jet responding to attacks on a military camp by Boko Haram insurgents bombed the camp based on a wrong coordinate.
Scores of insurgents had attacked the military camp in Mainok during which over seven soldiers, including an officer, lost their lives.
But TheCable reported that many soldiers were also killed by airstrikes carried out by the NAF jet.
In his reaction to the report on Monday, Edward Gabkwet, the NAF spokesman, an air commodore, said the incident was under investigation.
In a tweet on the official NAF Twitter handle, he said, “The attention of the @NigAirForce has been drawn to reports alleging “How NAF killed over 20 Nigerian Army personnel by accident in airstrike” at Mainok which is about 55km to Maiduguri.”
About 33 soldiers were on Sunday killed in the Mainok attack by members of the Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists group.
The soldiers, including a lieutenant colonel, were killed while the insurgents attacked the military base located in the town, about 60km to Maiduguri.
The lieutenant colonel was one the commanders operating along Auno-Jakana-Mainok-Benisheik axis of the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
The insurgents, who wore military camouflage and drove into the town in 16 gun trucks, six mine-resistant vehicles, headed straight to the military base and started shooting at the soldiers.
Appeared to have been taken unawares, the soldiers fled their base for safety.
According to sources in Mainok, the insurgents also burnt down the police station, shops and houses in the town.
“The insurgents came in around 1:30pm and started shooting sporadically before heading to the military base, where they destroyed the sandbag at the entrance of the base. At the base, they killed over 10 soldiers, who were fleeing to safety,” one of the sources, Lawan Tuja, told The PUNCH.
Tuja stated that the soldiers, who had put in spirited effort in fighting the insurgents, were overpowered by the insurgents because of the superior firepower at that their (insurgents) disposal.
“We saw the terrorists when they drove in. The troops of the Nigerian Army tried to contain them by fighting them for over one hour.
“The Air Force support came afterwards and unfortunately targetted the Nigerian troops instead of the insurgents, resulting in the death of over 20 soldiers.
“Gun trucks belonging to the Nigerian Army were burnt down too by the air support,” Tuja added.
Another resident, Modu Abba, said majority of the villagers ran in different directions into the bushes while many others, including him, left the town for Maiduguri for safety.
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