Air Force Accepts Culpability For Strike That Killed 37 Herders In Nasarawa

According to the air chief, there was no intentionality behind the action.

Adoga Stephen By Adoga Stephen - Editor-In-Chief
4 Min Read

The Nigerian Air Force has taken responsibility for the air strike in January 2023 that resulted in the deaths of 37 herders and their livestock in the Rukubi community of Doma Local Government Area in Nasarawa State.

Air Marshall Hassan Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff, visited Nasarawa State on Friday with other senior officials from the Air Force.

He made a courtesy visit to Governor Abdullahi Sule at the Government House in Lafia, the state capital, based on the findings of the review committee on the airstrike report.

“Sometime in January last year, airstrikes were conducted in the state after intelligence revealed the sighting of suspected terrorists on motorcycles transiting near Rukubi in the Doma local government area of the state. The entire area was well known for its heightened insecurity occasioned by killings, kidnapping, and terrorism perpetrated by terrorist elements in the state,” he stated.

“Because of this, the need for an airstrike became imperative but unfortunately however the airstrike killed some civilians at the location and the outcries by several locals as well as Nigerians necessitated a review of the reports of strikes, which later revealed that civilians were indeed killed during the airstrike. The need to make amends became expedient.”

According to the air chief, there was no intentionality behind the action.

He stated, “One of our core responsibilities is to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. Therefore, the unfortunate incident of January 2023 was not deliberate as no military in the world over will intentionally kill those it is mandated to protect.

“Our interest in initiating this is premised on the need to calm the nerves and bring closure to the matter. We also believe that our efforts will promote transparency and accountability and enable us to learn valuable lessons for mitigating similar mishaps in the future.”

Governor Abdullahi Sule expressed his gratitude to the Air Force for their contributions in maintaining peace in the state, particularly in the eastern region.

He also praised the Air Chief for prioritizing the well-being of civilians during military operations. The governor mentioned that the state had provided assistance to the victims since the incident occurred a year ago.

“From the 26th of January, we started by supporting them (the victims) with little resources because somebody who lost nine children, what kind of compensation can you give such a person,” Governor Sule said.

He then went to the Emir of Lafia’s palace, where he met with the affected individuals and representatives from Fulani groups like Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).

He expressed his sympathy to the victims and the people of the state.

The Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage (retired), mentioned that the visit of the Nigerian Air Force leadership marks the conclusion of the incident.

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By Adoga Stephen Editor-In-Chief
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Stephen studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu (now Lagos State University of Science and Technology), where he acquired requisite training for the practice of journalism. He loves the media, and his interest mostly lies in print medium, where his creative writing skill makes him a perfect fit.