Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has reacted to claims that it bombarded and killed innocent civilians instead of bandits during its recent air strikes in Zamfara State.
Denying the report, NAF challenged anyone with evidence that it was innocent civilians that were targeted and killed to produce such evidence.
Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, stated this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Media reports had quoted some traditional rulers insinuating that NAF Operation DIRAN MIKIYA, set up to flush out bandits in Zamfara, killed only innocent civilians in the areas it recently attacked and not bandits.
The claim came following a recent announcement by NAF that it killed no fewer than 25 bandits in Zamfara during an air raid.
But in his response, Daramola described the claim as mischievous and wondered how anyone would spread such deliberate misinformation.
He regretted that such is coming when NAF is doing its best to efficiently respond to the challenges facing the good people of Zamfara and its environs.
He said, “The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to some media reports insinuating that the recent air strikes conducted by its Air Task Force for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA killed only innocent civilians in the areas attacked and not bandits.
“The NAF finds such reports rather ridiculous because most of the locations attacked are within the Rugu, Sububu and Kagara Forests general area, which are known bandits hideouts that have been attacked in the past, without any outcry.
“Besides, the NAF target selection process for air operations is particularly rigorous and methodical in order to ensure proper target identification and thereby prevent strikes on wrong locations.”
Daramola explained that the locations attacked from April 8 to 11 are selected based on human intelligence (HUMINT) reports obtained from security agencies and other government sources, traditional and community leaders as well as reliable, vetted informants.
“In addition, NAF also has Special Forces (SF) personnel operating in some of the areas attacked, who provided additional intelligence.
“These were all further confirmed by days of detailed day and night Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions to ensure proper targeting for avoidance of collateral damage.
“In view of the foregoing, the NAF finds it rather mischievous that anyone would spread such deliberate misinformation whilst the Service is doing its best to effectively respond to the challenges facing the good people of Zamfara and its environs.
“Rather than making such spurious and unsubstantiated allegations, NAF requests that anyone with evidence to the effect that innocent civilians were targeted by the NAF air strikes should produce such evidence,” Daramola said.
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