IDP Camp Bombing: Sad, unfortunate, but not unique – Borno Governor

Victims of the Rann IDP camp bombing receiving treatment at the Maiduguri Specialist hospital

The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said on Wednesday that though sad, the Tuesday accidental bombing of a civilian population in his state was not unique.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how at least 52 people were killed and 120 others injured after a Nigerian Air Force jet accidentally bombed a Rann camp for persons displaced by Boko Haram, IDPs.

The governor said several wars that shaped the history of mankind were not ended without cases of people dying, not from the bullets of the enemy, but by friendly fire of their own soldiers.

The governor who made this comment when the federal government delegation paid him a sympathy visit at the Government House Maiduguri, said though the state was grieved by the “unfortunate incident”, his government still remains grateful to the soldiers for the role they have played so far in securing Borno from Boko Haram.

“The incidence of friendly fire is as old as the history of mankind. They constituted up to 5 to 20 per cent of all casualties in war. From the war of the Rose of 1471 to the English civil war of 1643, to the Napoleonic wars, to the American war of independence down to the first and second world wars, such incidences like people dying out of friendly firing were very rampant.

IMG_2684“On 3rd May 1945, the RAF fighter pilot attacked three German ships; and unknown to the pilot, those German ships were carrying concentration camp survivors and allied prisoners of war. Ten thousand people perished in that attack alone. And even very recently, there was an incidence in Afghanistan where United States fighter pilots attacked a hospital…killing 25 persons including women and children. So also in Syria when a coalition air strike attacked a wedding convoy killing 25 people; was the case in Iraq.

“We are not justifying the sad incident of Tuesday; but we are going down memory to show the world that such incident usually occurs in times of war”.

The governor said rather than being angry at the soldiers for what happened, he was happy with the soldiers’ uncommon candour  by coming out on time to tell the world the truth about the incident.

“We have to commend the military for the way and manner they managed the incident”, he said.

“As bad as the incident was, nobody tried to hide it, nobody tried to sweep it under the carpet. We have to commend the Nigerian armed forces for the forthrightness they displayed by coming out and telling the world exactly what happened. If not for what they did yesterday (Tuesday), people would have resort to the blame game and name-calling; some may even accuse me Kashim Shettima of planting the bomb in Rann to kill his own people.

“And for us in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, we cannot but thank the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for all the support he has given us.  Three years ago, Maiduguri was effectively in a circle, you can’t go beyond ten kilometres away from each entrance to the city. The only accessible road was the Maiduguri-Kano road, which was also haunted by incessant attacks by Boko Haram.

“So we in the north-east remain eternally grateful to the government of Muhammadu Buhari for reclaiming our land and for returning peace to us.”Bomb victims

Mr. Shettima sad Boko Haram have been degraded “as such they no longer cause a threat to us.

“Once in a while they may have planted bomb in the streets to attack innocent people; but believe me, we have crossed the Rubicon and the worst is over.”

Earlier, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, who led the delegation of ministers and service chiefs, had condoled the state government and victims’ families over the incident.

He said the federal government would double its commitment to see that the insurgency comes to an end and displaced persons are moved out of the IDP camp back to their respective communities.

“The President and C-in-C is very distressed about the incident, and has instructed us to embark on this condolence visit. This kind of incident happens occasionally in war, especially when dealing with terrorists like Boko Haram who arbitrarily and in cowardly fashion hide among civilians.

“The President deeply regrets the incident. The Armed forces will take extra care to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The Federal Government is working with the State, Local, and International partners to ensure speedy resettlement of IDPs,” Mr. Kyari said.

The delegation later paid a condolence visit to the Maiduguri temporary palace of the displaced Shehu of Dikwa, under whose domain the attacked Rann IDP camp is located.

Mr. Kyari also visited the office of the International Red Cross, ICRC, and Doctors without Borders, MSF, who lost some officials to the Tuesday bombing.

The delegation finally visited the Maiduguri specialists hospital to see some of the injured survivors that were brought in from Rann by ICRC helicopters.

At the hospital, the Chief Medical Officer, Kwaya Bura, informed the delegation that 54 injured persons were flown in from Rann and most of them were children.

Journalists were not allowed to speak with the victims, as military personnel insisted they were not in the best state to grant interviews.

Similarly, the spokesperson of the Borno State Governor, Isa Gusau, in a statement said the state deputy governor, Usman Durkwa, and the member representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala federal constituency where the attacked IDP camp is located, had been flown in a military helicopter to visit the attacked location.

The road from Maiduguri to Kala-Balge is in a bad state and not completely safe, thus necessitating the airlifts of victims and officials.

“Governor Kashim Shettima has since morning deployed his Deputy, Usman Mamman Durkwa and the House of Representatives member, representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala federal constituency of Borno State, Mamman Nur Sheriff and the Assembly member among other officials to scene of the incident at Rann, Headquarters of Kala-Balge local government area in order to assess the situation and supervise evacuation of victims to Maiduguri.


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  • Intrepid

    You are trying to lecture Nigerians on the history of friendly fires because non of your family members are among the victims. Heartless people. Nigeria is now ‘hell on earth’.

  • Lala Hansy

    Mr. Governor, this is no time for justification of this ugly incident, do not compromise the detailed investigation. You are expected to simply condone with the victims and assure the Federal Government delegation of carrying out a detailed investigation to forestall such incident happening again. That is what is expected of you. No single life is worth wasting mindlessly unless you have no regards to life.

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  • Nkem

    So what is unique? Stealing IDPs’ money, abi? So if it was government house they bombed with your family inside, that is what you will be saying? They kill people and next thing you do is to ask your aides to google WIKIPEDIA for you on history of friendly fire? In other places, when they do ‘friendly fire’, that’s how the will be celebrating it? What a heartless people and a soulless nation!

  • Oracle

    Mr governor, I assure you it would have been swept under the carpet like any other cases that never came to the public- thanks to the MSF and other foreign NGOs on ground.

    If the casualty figure is too high to be swept under the carpet, what about the government discount of casualty figure to a “bearable or an acceptable” figure.

    Try as you can you can’t justify the avoidable deaths of IDPs. The IDP camp, I believe, is not a mobile camp like you try to compare in futility. But i have few questions for you sir:
    1)Is the camp newly sited on that location? 2)Who approved the camp location?
    3)Has the location ever been changed?
    4) Don’t the military have the coordinate for the camp?
    5) how old is that camp?

    THIS CASE IS DIFFERENT, IT’S NOT A FRIENDLY FIRE; BUT A CARELESS FIRE THAT NEEDS THOROUGH INVESTIGATION.

  • Right Minded

    The bombing if this IDP camps was deliberate and not a mistake. The military can only deny the real truth and try to cover up the atrocities by saying it was a mistake. If it was a mistake, does it mean that it would happen again? Am sure the military believed that the IDP camps have be infiltrated with wanted Boko haram members and suicide bombers according to a reliable source. And since it will be difficult to fish them out among the innocent ones, they decided to carry out this act knowing fully well that there would be collateral damage. Have u heard the military talking about investigating this murderous act and bringing the culprits to book? The Hausa fulanis have never valued lives, so this incident does not move them, and all these remorse faces being shown by Buhari and his goons are just crocodile tears. Am sure if it were a farm full of cows that the Boko haram members are hiding, Buhari or Danbazzau will never instruct such places to be bombed, rather the soldiers will be instructed to fish out the terrorists without touching the cows even if it would lead to the death of the soldiers. And Premium Times should always give accurate figure of casualties because reliable sources gave the no of deaths as above 100-200, including 20 Red Cross workers. Premium Times should stop aiding and abetting this evil govt.

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  • thusspokez

    The governor said several wars that shaped the history of mankind were not ended without cases of people dying, not from the bullets of the enemy, but by friendly fire of their own soldiers.

    This is a reckless and most inappropriate comment to make in the given circumstance.

    Governor Shettima’s trip to the camp was supposed to be a ‘condolence visit’ — not one to deliver history lecture. What has uniqueness got to do with their loss and pain? His comment is like being told by your doctor whom you go to see for treatment after a broken leg that your pain is not unique. So what?

  • Otile

    I thought they said crooked politicians use statistics to lie, I did not know that deceiving Muslims can use history to lie too. So Alhaji Shetima is true to type. If the Red Cross was not there the casualty figures would be in serious dispute by now. At first the deceiving government insisted that only 2 people died in the refugee camp bombing. We would never know the truth until the Red Cross gave us the accurate figure. How long will this deceiving government continue to mislead people?

  • Decimator

    “We are not justifying the sad incident of Tuesday; but we are going down memory to show the world that such incident usually occurs in times
    of war”.PT

    Journalists were not allowed to speak with the victims, as military personnel insisted they were not in the best state to grant interviews.PT

    Typical guilty conscience statement; Was this not the same Governor Kashim Shettima that not long ago ordered many international aid agencies including Unicef out of Borno, claiming that they are smiling to the bank to pay and maintain their staffs, rather than hand him and his complots the assistance they brought for the needy in IDP Camps I suppose?

    Was Mohammadu Buhari himself not accusing the UN of exaggerating the humanitarian crisis in the North east some time ago?

    Whatever the case this incident calls for a meticulous international investigation as even an attempt to scare away the aid agencies cannot be totally ruled out. Sorry