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Nigerian Air Force apologises for 2023 accidental airstrike in Nasarawa

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The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has officially taken responsibility for the accidental airstrike that occurred on January 23, 2023, in Rukubi Community, Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, resulting in the tragic loss of 37 lives.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, expressed regret for the unfortunate incident during a condolence visit to the Palace of the Emir of Lafia on Friday.

Abubakar, while addressing the families of the victims, stated that the airstrike was unintentional, revealing that NAF had undertaken the operation in response to criminal activities and terrorist attacks, including the abduction of primary school pupils in the area.

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Acting on intelligence suggesting the presence of terrorists on motorcycles, the airstrike was conducted, inadvertently resulting in the loss of innocent civilian lives.

He acknowledged the public outcry and concern regarding the incident, leading NAF to conduct a detailed and thorough investigation. The subsequent findings confirmed that innocent civilians were indeed affected by the airstrike.

“Whenever the military is accused of killing innocent civilians, it’s painful to us,” he stated.

He added that the visit to Nasarawa State was intended to offer condolences to the government and the families affected, bringing closure to the regrettable accident.

During the visit, Air Marshal Abubakar assured of transparency and accountability in all military operations, stating the measures taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future.

Governor Abdullahi Sule praised the initiative by the Nigerian Air Force to offer condolences, describing it as a novel approach that would help bring closure to the matter.

The governor also commended the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies for their roles in maintaining peace in the state, pledging continued support for their operations.

On his part, the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad (retd), expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and the Chief of the Air Staff for the condolences, noting the significance of the apology in the healing process.

He remarked: “This is something new; that an authority like the Nigerian Air Force, having conducted an authorised duty but an accident occurred on the line of duty, for them to accept and come back to apologise, is something that has not happened before.”

Nigerian Air Force apologises for 2023 accidental airstrike in Nasarawa

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