Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has broken its silence over the air strike by the Nigerian Army at Tudun Birni community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, saying terrorists embedded with civilians.
Eighty-five people were killed with several others injured in the bombing, making it one of the country’s deadliest military bombing accidents.
The Director of Defence Media Operations, Edward Buba, said the airstrikes were targeted at terrorists. He said the army’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detachment observed the movement of terrorists at Ligarma, an area notorious for being a haven for insurgents.
“It should be noted that terrorists often deliberately embed themselves within civilian population centres for the civilian population to bear the consequences of their atrocities,” he said in a Tuesday statement.
“Nevertheless, the Nigerian military does its best at all times to distinguish between civilians and terrorists. The military views every civilian death in the cause of operations as a tragedy as such tragedies are needless and unwanted, which causes the armed forces to take extensive measures to avoid them.
“For instance, communities are to always alert troops of their activities particularly when such a community is known to be infested with terrorists and their sympathisers.
“These instructions are intended at enabling the military to distinguish between friendly and untoward activities.”
The Nigerian Army has since accepted responsibility for the incident, stating that its troops were on a routine mission against terrorists when the “mistake” occurred.
President Bola Tinubu as well as the Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, have ordered a thorough probe while commiserating with the families of the victims.