Army chief apologises over Kaduna village bombing

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has apologised to the relatives of victims of the accidental bombing that occurred at the Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Sunday.

Lagbaja described the incident as “very disheartening.”

He, however, ordered an investigation into the incident, saying the probe would allow the service to avert such situations in the future.

A statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, stated that the COAS said this during a condolence visit to the community.

The statement read, ” COAS has paid a condolence visit to Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State where he met with the Dangaladima Zazau, the District Head of Rigasa, Architect Aminu Idris, other leaders and members of the community.

“The COAS in an emotion-laden speech expressed regrets on the unfortunate mishap, describing it as a very disheartening occurrence.

“The COAS stated that he was in Tudun Biri to personally witness the site of the mishap and to convey sincere regrets and unreserved apologies on behalf of the Nigerian Army to the District Head and people of the community, as well as the government and entire people of Kaduna State.

“He disclosed that he has ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident to ascertain and identify areas of deficiency that led to the inadvertent disaster, adding that the findings and overarching outcome of the investigation will guide the NA in meticulously and professionally seeking and applying lasting solutions to identified lapses and deficiencies in both the human and Artificial Intelligence variables that will forestall future recurrence.”

Explaining the cause of the mishap, Lagbaja said troops were conducting aerial patrols and wrongly took the movement of the citizens for bandits.

The statement added, “Speaking further, Lagbaja noted that in the recent past, the general area of Tudun Biri and adjoining villages were infested with armed bandits, who terrorised the communities, until troops of the Nigerian Army started conducting operations to sanitize the area and make it habitable.

“He pointed out, that the troops were carrying out aerial patrols when they observed a group of people and wrongly analyzed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits, before the drone strike.”

The District Head of Rigasa, Aminu Idris, in his remarks, said despite the enormity of the incident, the Nigerian Army showed integrity in accepting responsibility for the drone strike and urged its leadership to intervene in bringing succour to hospitalised victims and the community for their losses.

He maintained that the community is a mixed community of both Muslims and Christians and that the victims are of both faiths, contrary to earlier insinuation that the community is solely Muslim.”

While commiserating with the District Head, he made donations for the upkeep of the victims.

“Lagbaja also commiserated with the Chairman Jamaa’ atu Nasru Islam, Kaduna State Prof Shafiu Abdullahi and other clerics. The Chief of Army Staff equally visited affected victims at the Barua Dikko Teaching Hospital Anguwan Rimi, Kaduna, where he expressed concern for the speedy recuperation of the hospitalized persons and made an immediate donation of several provisions for their upkeep,” the statement added.