The NAF has constituted a board of senior officers to investigate the accidental air strike on January 17, 2017, at Rann, Borno State. Among its terms of reference, the board is to determine the immediate and remote causes as well as the circumstances that led to the incident.
“This is with a view to forestalling future occurrence. In addition to a list of 20 witnesses given to it, the board is free to invite other persons to give evidence on oath. The Board is to submit its report not later than February 2, 2017.
.. the pilots who launched the air strike, were among the 20 witnesses to be summoned by the NAF panel.
The NAF,we gathered, is not treating this incident with kid’ gloves, and it is not going to spare any indicted officer. The Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre commander is top among those to be summoned by the panel.
“Nothing yet has happened to the pilots because no report has indicted them. There are several procedures before you go to bomb a location; there are the Surveillance platforms and the Air Interdiction platforms.
“The panel will unravel whether surveillance was done at the location before the air strike. All these are necessary.
“Also, the panel will find out if the Rann location had been an IDPs’ camp known to the military or not.”
Meanwhile, the death toll in the Rann accidental bombing rose by two as additional casualties were recorded at hospitals in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Though initial reports had put the death toll at about 100, the latest casualties has brought the figure of 52, given by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) of 52, to 54.
The Borno State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, said hospitals in the state capital had discharged five injured survivors, confirming that two of the 80 severely-injured victims died.
He stated that the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services and the NAF provided seven helicopters for the evacuation of the victims that ended on Thursday.
Mshelia said the State Specialist Hospital currently admitted 68 of the victims after those initially hospitalised at the military hospital at 7 Division of the Nigerian Army were all moved to the hospital on Thursday.