military blames homeless for botched air strike
Nigeria's military on Friday blamed an unexpected gathering of homeless people
for a botched air strike that killed 112 at a camp for those displaced by the
Boko Haram conflict.
jets targeted the camp in Rann, northeast Nigeria, on January 17 as aid workers
distributed food to internally displaced people (IDPs) living in makeshift
at the time called the bombing a mistake and blamed "the fog of war".
Air Force board of inquiry had been due to report in early February on the
strike, which also injured nearly 100 people, many of them women and children.
spokesperson Major General John Enenche gave no explanation for the six-month
delay in revealing its findings.
But in a
brief statement he blamed "lack of appropriate marking of the area"
for the bombardment.
people were not expected to amass at that location," he said of the camp,
which at the time was home to between 20 000 and 40 000 people and was run by
the location was not reflected in the operational map as a humanitarian
the homeless had gathered "near the camp". At the time aid agency
workers said the first bomb landed just metres from the Red Cross office
in the camp.
Red Cross workers were among the dead.
the military has attributed the bombing to a failure of intelligence caused by
information provided by an unnamed foreign country.
Boko Haram fighters, who were known to be active in the area in northern Borno
state, typically amassed before attacking civilians.
it (the location) appeared as a place that could equally be used for enemy
activities," he told a news conference in Abuja.
when mass movement was noticed through aerial satellite observation, it was
taken for Boko Haram terrorists activity, which needed to be neutralised with
statement also said recommendations of the air force board of inquiry report,
which was not published, included sharing of the precise locations of
humanitarian activity with the military.
military controls media access to IDP camps across Borno state, and also
provides assistance to humanitarian groups working there.
Reporters have been allowed to visit many camps
across Borno but so far access to Rann has been extremely limited.