Gen Irabor disclosed that some civilians and two humanitarian workers from the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) and Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) were wounded in the incident which he described as disturbing. “Two of our soldiers were also wounded,” he added. He said the military has already sent helicopter to evacuate the wounded persons. He could not comment on whether or not the incident was a tactical error by the military. He said it was rather the cost of war, urging the people to work together to ensure peace return to the troubled northeast States. He said the military will investigate the cause of the problem. “It is too early for us to determine whether it was an error or not. We have at no time targeted the civilians whenever we carried out our operations and wherever they are gathered,” he maintained. He said the military was yet to ascertain the number of persons killed in the airstrike, adding that the death of innocent persons in the course of the operation was rather disturbing to the military authority and the institution.
In a swift reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari, who received news of the accidental bombing of the civilian community in Rann by the Nigerian Air Force, engaged in the final phase of mopping up of insurgents in the North-East with deep sadness and regret, condoled with families of the dead, wished the wounded divine succour, leading to full recovery, and sympathized with the Borno State government.
In a statement Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), President Buhari pledged federal help for the state government in attending to “this regrettable operational mistake,” and pleaded for calm, even as he prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the dead.
Following the unfortunate situation at Rann in Kala-Balge local government area of Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima has ordered the State Ministry of Health to set up an emergency with all medical hospitals under the State Government located in Maiduguri, which include the State Specialist Hospital, the Professor Umaru Shehu Hospital and General Muhammad Shuwa memorial hospital, placed on standby in readiness to carryout emergency treatment.
The Governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said in a statement emailed to journalists, that Governor Shettima received the news with very deep concern while he has channeled his focus on ensuring that all the victims, particularly those with severe injuries are provided urgent medical treatment.
As at this evening, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has deployed a helicopter which is on ground at Rann to begin evacuation of victims, starting with those with the most critical health conditions. The MSF (Doctors without border) along with officials of the State Government have been first responders.
Governor Shettima particularly commended the group for its rapid response in providing first aide treatment to victims at the scene.
While Governor Shettima is working to ensure that all victims are evacuated as soon as possible, the State Commissioner of Health has mobilized medical doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists and other health officials in all hospitals owned by Borno State Government while ambulances have also been deployed. The medical experts are currently on standby with emergency consumables set for treatment of victims as soon as they arrive Maiduguri.
Casualty figures are yet to be ascertained but from information available to the Governor, there are records of deaths with many persons injured. The Governor’s heart is with families of all those affected and urges citizens to pray for the repose of the souls of those dead and the speedy recovery of the injured.
Governor Shettima looks forward to formal communication from the military to ascertain what happened and would brief the press should there be the need to do so. For now, all focus should be on the evacuation of victims and the provision of emergency medical services to them with the hope that they quickly recover.