We targeted terrorists — not fishermen: Military clears the air on air strikes that killed 20 in Borno

Posted by News Express | 1 October 2021 | 641 times

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•Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.-Gen. Lucky Irabor


The Defence Headquarters on Thursday cleared the air on the recent air strikes that killed 20 in Borno State, insisting that it took necessary steps to ensure that the presence of terrorists was ascertained and that the strike was precise and professionally executed.

Explaining that it did not target civilian settlements in the Sunday September26 air strikes at the Kwatan Daban Masara general area in the fringes of the Lake Tchad, the Nigerian military said further that the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI, acted on credible actionable intelligence on the activities of terrorists in an identified ISWAP Camp at the said location, conducted air strikes on the target. In a swift rebuttal to reports that “Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI on Sunday 26 September 2021, killed 20 Fishermen in air strikes at Kwatan Daban Masara general area in the fringes of the Lake Tchad,” the military high command stated it is important to clarify the air regarding the air interdiction mission conducted in the general area.

Spokesman of Defence Media Operations Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, said the mission was carried out after careful Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions revealed the activities of ISWAP elements in the location.

He said: “Consequently, the intelligence gathered was processed and carefully analyzed between the period of 19 August and 23 September 2021. Persons wearing combat vests and uniforms identified as ISWAP-styled uniforms were seen within the camp. Furthermore, neither women nor children were noticed in or around the camp, just as no fishing activities were seen. Instead, canoes loaded with unidentified items were seen parked but not engaged in any fishing activity, an indication that they were to be ferried to another location.

“Having carefully ascertained that nearby civilian settlements were not in the line of fire and a precision strike would disrupt ISWAP logistics movement and neutralize them; a decision was made to conduct a strike on the ISWAP camp. Although casualty figures could not be ascertained, the strike was verified to be successful in disrupting ISWAP logistics movement and foot soldiers.”

Onyeuko added: “It is important to state that the location is a well-known ISWAP enclave and there is an existing ban on fishing activities within the area.

“Additionally, the general area is known as a gateway for movement of logistics by ISWAP elements especially from Kirta and Wulgo locations.

“Therefore, the Nigerian Military wishes to state categorically that necessary steps were taken to ensure that the presence of the terrorists was ascertained and the strike was precise and professionally executed.”

The spokesman assures that the Military High Command will continue to ensure that its troops safe guard lives and properties of innocent citizens.

Source: News Express

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