A statement by Ayodele Famuyiwa, Group Captain, Director of Public Relations & Information, NAF, said that the Boko Haram allegation is only a ruse by a dying sect to draw attention to itself, discredit NAF and whip up sentiment among the public to discontinue the use of airpower that has proved decisive in the anti-terrorism campaign.
The statement stressed that NAF uses highly sophisticated and precise equipment and intelligence that ensure that only legitimate military targets are engaged, reassuring Nigerians living within the vicinity of its operations, of their safety.
The full text of the statement:
The attention of the Nigerian Air Force has been drawn to the latest video released online by the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) group alleging the killing of some of the abducted Chibok school girls by Nigerian Air Force fighter jets. It is pertinent to state that the video is not only a ruse but another mischievous effort by the dying sect to draw public attention to itself. Whereas the video showed a cross section of the abducted girls and an airborne aircraft, it provided no evidence that the supposed casualties were as a result of any air to ground attack. More so, there is sufficient evidence to believe that the casualties were arranged as the positioning of the bodies clearly defiles any natural setting of a location that has undergone aerial bombardment. Besides, the impact and accompanying degree of damage to the bodies would have been more, were they to have died from air strike. It is therefore clear that the video is a make-up story to discredit the NAF, and more importantly, a deliberate effort to whip up sentiment among the public in order to dissuade and discontinue the use of airpower which has proved very effective as the major determinant factor in the successes recorded in the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
The NAF has put-in place a number of measures to avoid the incidence of collateral damage. To this end, considerable effort is committed to undertaking Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, both day and night, to ensure that only legitimate military targets are engaged. Besides, NAF ISR platforms carry highly sophisticated equipment on-board which are able to provide pin-point accurate intelligence about target location and description as depicted in the enclosed video on our ISR operations. And where there are doubts about target status, we do not undertake strike missions. In any case, the NAF, being a professional fighting force, has not and will not engage in unprofessional practices in discharging its statutory duties.
The NAF will like to assure Nigerians, living within the vicinity of its operations, of their safety. While urging them also to disregard the BHT video as a mere propaganda, the NAF wishes to use this opportunity to restate its commitment to restoration of peace in the North East and other troubled areas in the country.