The level of insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern region has increased over the years hence the constant military offensive against terrorists, bandits and other criminals.
Recently, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), took delivery of the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States.
The Air Force had earlier said air fighters from Nigeria were already in the U.S. receiving additional training on the usage and the applications of the fighter jets when eventually added to the fleet of combat aircraft.
However, while these aircraft should have helped in the fight against terrorism in the North-East and other forms of insecurity, there have been errors on the part of the NAF officers leading to the death of both civilians and members of the Nigerian Army.
SaharaReporters has chronicled incidents where Nigerian military planes accidentally bombed soldiers and civilians.
In January 2017, a Nigerian military plane accidentally dropped a bomb inside a settlement in Borno State, leading to the death of several persons.
Over a hundred people were injured and taken to the hospital after the incident at a settlement at Kala-balge Local Government Area of the state.
At least two people are feared dead from the incident and the injured included officials of the Doctors without Borders, MSF.
Confirming the incident, the then spokesman for the military Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, explained that it was an error deeply regretted by the military.
Abubakar explained that soldiers got information of the movement of Boko Haram members in the Kala-balge area and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists.
According to him, it was the air support that mistakenly dropped the bomb.
On April 26, 2021, an Air Force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed men of the Nigerian Army, killing over 20 officers
The soldiers who were reinforced from Ngandu village were said to be on their way to Mainok, headquarters of the Kaga Local Government Area of Borno state which was under attack by militants from the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād.
Earlier, the gunmen attacked a Nigerian Army location at 156 Battalion in the community, killing over 30 soldiers.
A source told SaharaReporters that a reinforcement team of the Nigerian Army sent to the community was mistakenly bombed by an Air Force fighter jet.
“The Boko Haram terrorists disguised in military uniform and gained access to the camp. They came in different groups and could not be counted. The Nigerian Army were pinned down, they requested for reinforcement, the reinforcement got on their way only to get smoked by the Nigerian Airforce.
“The (reinforcement team) was coming from Ngandu and were killed by an airstrike. The Air Force mistook them for Boko Haram as both were cladded in similar military uniform and operational vehicles,” a source said.
On June 13, 2021 an offensive aerial bombardment of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha jet carried out around Genu town in Niger State resulted in the killing of some wedding guests though many fleeing armed bandits were eliminated in the process.
It was gathered that some herds of rustled cows were also killed by an airstrike, which was scrambled from a military base in Katsina State.
One of the bombs allegedly strayed at a wedding party in an adjoining village, according to an eyewitness.
The eyewitness said: “We saw the small aircraft dropping bombs from afar on the location of fleeing bandits and one of the explosives hit a wedding event in Argida Village.
“Two villagers were also killed, unfortunately. We gathered that several others, who were guests at the wedding feast, sustained injuries."
The NAF Spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said the airstrikes at the axis were very successful.
“We have no information on any civilian casualty. Our mission is against armed bandits in that Genu axis, after we got intelligence on the convergence of the bad elements planning to terrorise the people,” he was quoted as saying.
On September 15, 2021 tragedy struck again in the fight against the terror group, Boko Haram Wednesday, when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East bombed a village in the Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State, killing at least 10 villagers.
According to residents, the fighter jet belonging to the military approached from the Eastern part of the town around 8:30 am and started firing sporadically.
However, a military source who confirmed the story told SaharaReporters that the Air Force “accidentally” hit the wrong coordinates while targeting a camp belonging to Boko Haram insurgents in the area.
The Chairman of Yunusari Local Government Area, Alhaji Bukar Gaji also confirmed the incident.
“Yes, it happened; we received the sad news today and the victims are currently in the hospital receiving treatment,” he said.
However, Edward Gabkwet, Air Force spokesman denied the incident.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, Gabkwet said, “This tweet is false in its entirety. The NAF last conducted a mission into Yobe State (Not Yunusari LGA) on 5 September 2021 and it was an armed recce. No bomb or missile was even expended. Thanks.”
He was reacting to a tweet by a media organisation.
Villagers in the past have reported some civilian casualties in near-daily bombardments in North Eastern Nigeria.
Recently, a military jet that came to repel an attack by Boko Haram dropped a bomb that landed in a compound where civilians were holding a naming ceremony.
Some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 and freed last year also said three of their classmates were killed by Air Force bombardments.