According to the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, the shots hit some humanitarian staff of Medicines San Frontiers and those of the International Committees of Red Cross, as well as some doctors without borders in Rann Community in Kala Balge Local Government Area, Borno State.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Major General Irabor explained that he ordered the air bombardment after he received intelligence report about the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists around Kala Balge area, situated near the country’s border with Cameron but it turned out that other civilians were somewhere around the area and they were mistakenly affected.
He said that helicopters had been deployed to evacuate those that were critically wounded, including two soldiers.
As at the time of the news conference, the actual number of the casualties is not known as Major General Irabor promised to release the figure later.
However unconfirmed sources reported about 50 casualties, including six staff of the Red Cross while over 100 persons were said to have been injured.
Meanwhile, the Borno State Government had pledged to ensure that victims of the accidental airstrike, especially those with severe injuries were provided with urgent medical attention.
In a statement, the State government said it had directed the setting up of emergency centres in all the State government health facilities in the capital, Maiduguri, to attend to the victims, especially those in critical condition.
Similarly, President Mohamadu Buhari has expressed regret over the accidental bombing in Rann community.
In a Statement, by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adeshina, the President condoled with the Borno State Government and families of the victims and wished the wounded quick recovery.
President Buhari pledged to assist the Borno State Government in attending to the impact of the operational mistake.
The incident occurred at a time the military was try to root out the remnants of Boko Haram militants, which it had decimated all their pervious stronghold in the north east Nigeria.
In a similar development, the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association wants security agencies to restore maximum security checks at the University of Maiduguri and other places where Boko Haram insurgent groups are said to have been defeated.
The Association made the call following the Monday bomb attack on a mosque at the University of Maiduguri, which led to the death of the University’s Director of Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Professor Aliyu Usman Mani and four others.
A statement by the National President, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Godwin Abonyi, said they received the news of the death of Professor Mani with great shock, describing him as a colossus in the veterinary profession.
“The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association has received with great shock, the death in the Mosque at the dawn Moslem prayers on Monday 16thJanuary 2017, of our own Prof. Aliyu Usman Mani, DVM, FCVSN and currently, the Director of Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Maiduguri.”
“That these mindless murderers who have no respect even for places of worship of God have just dastardly snuffed life out of this colossus in the Veterinary profession and the academia is most unfortunate.”
According to the statement, the association is alarmed that University of Maiduguri that remained a safe haven during the peak of insurgency was easily infiltrated by suicide bombers now that Boko Haram has been decimated in the North East.
“We are also alarmed that the University of Maiduguri that remained a safe haven during the peak of the insurgency could have easily loosened their guard and vigilance as to enable suicide bombers have easy access to the university.”
It called on relevant authorities to beef up security in the institution and carry out thorough combing within the university to ensure that there were no more suicide bombers on the campus.
The Statement commiserated with the families of the late Professor and others affected in the blast.
“The Veterinary profession deeply sympathizes with the family of Prof. Mani, the Faculty of veterinary Medicine and University of Maiduguri in general over the tragic incidence and prays for the peaceful repose of the souls of Prof Mani and other victims.”