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Army Tenders Unreserved Apology Over Kaduna Village Bombing

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Toareed Lagbaja on Tuesday tendered unreserved apology to the families and victims of Drone misfire on civilians at Tudun Biri community, Afaka ward, in Igabi Local Government area of Kaduna State.

DIPLOMATIC DIARY reports that at  least 80 villagers had died, and over fifty others currently hospitalised with different injuries they suffered from an accidental air raid by the Nigerian army on Sunday night.

The Kaduna State Government said the Nigerian Army on Monday claimed responsibility for accidentally firing at a group of villagers celebrating an Islamic anniversary in the village.

Lagbaja in a press statement issued on Tuesday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, described the incident as “very disheartening.”

He, however, ordered an investigation into the incident, saying the probe would allow the service to avert such situations in the future.

The statement read: “COAS has paid a condolence visit to Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State where he met with the Dangaladima Zazau, the District Head of Rigasa, Architect Aminu Idris, other leaders and members of the community.

“The COAS in an emotion-laden speech expressed regrets on the unfortunate mishap, describing it as a very disheartening occurrence.

“The COAS stated that he was in Tudun Biri to personally witness the site of the mishap and to convey sincere regrets and unreserved apologies on behalf of the Nigerian Army to the District Head and people of the community, as well as the government and entire people of Kaduna State.

“He disclosed that he has ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident to ascertain and identify areas of deficiency that led to the inadvertent disaster, adding that the findings and overarching outcome of the investigation will guide the NA in meticulously and professionally seeking and applying lasting solutions to identified lapses and deficiencies in both the human and Artificial Intelligence variables that will forestall future recurrence.”

Explaining the cause of the mishap, Lagbaja said troops were conducting aerial patrols and wrongly took the movement of the citizens for bandits.

The statement added, “Speaking further, Lagbaja noted that in the recent past, the general area of Tudun Biri and adjoining villages were infested with armed bandits, who terrorised the communities, until troops of the Nigerian Army started conducting operations to sanitize the area and make it habitable.

“He pointed out, that the troops were carrying out aerial patrols when they observed a group of people and wrongly analyzed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits, before the drone strike.”

The District Head of Rigasa, Aminu Idris, in his remarks, said despite the enormity of the incident, the Nigerian Army showed integrity in accepting responsibility for the drone strike and urged its leadership to intervene in bringing succour to hospitalised victims and the community for their losses.

He maintained that the community is a mixed community of both Muslims and Christians and that the victims are of both faiths, contrary to earlier insinuation that the community is solely Muslim.”

While commiserating with the District Head, he made donations for the upkeep of the victims.

“Lagbaja also commiserated with the Chairman Jamaa’ atu Nasru Islam, Kaduna State Prof Shafiu Abdullahi and other clerics. The Chief of Army Staff equally visited affected victims at the Barua Dikko Teaching Hospital Anguwan Rimi, Kaduna, where he expressed concern for the speedy recuperation of the hospitalized persons and made an immediate donation of several provisions for their upkeep”, the statement added.

In a related development, the Chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has expressed deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the families of the Maulud celebrants, affected in the unfortunate incident.

Governor Yahaya extended his condolences to the government and people of Kaduna State during this profoundly distressing time, describing the loss of innocent lives as a heartbreaking tragedy.

The Governor in a statement issued on Tuesday evening by Ismaila Uba Misilli,
Director-General of Press Affairs at
Government House, emphasized that while the fight against banditry and terrorism remains crucial, it must be executed with the highest level of professionalism and care to prevent such heart-wrenching accidents.

He called for a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the unfortunate incident.

“It is imperative for the authorities to take prompt and necessary measures to not only address the immediate concerns of the victims and the affected community, but also to prevent any future occurrences”, he said.

In these trying times, Governor Inuwa Yahaya assures the affected families and the community of Tudun Biri as well as the people of Kaduna State of the support and commitment of the Northern Governors to ensuring justice, healing, and security in the region.

DIPLOMATIC DIARY

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