The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has expressed concern about the number of civilian casualties during air strikes in various theaters of operations.
Amao said it was necessary to ensure that measures to reduce these incidents are implemented to enhance the legitimacy of the Air Force’s operations in the country.
According to a count by our correspondent, there were five miscalculated airstrike incidents resulting in the deaths of 78 people and the injury of 45 residents in 2022.
Seven children were killed and five injured while attacking terrorists in the neighboring Republic of Niger during an Air Force airstrike on February 20, 2022.
One month later, at least six children between the ages of five and 12 were killed in a Nigerian Air Force airstrike on the Kuregba community of the Shiroro local government area in Niger state.
One person was killed and 13 injured following an air strike by the Nigerian Air Force on the village of Kunkuna in the Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State on 7 July 2022.
Residents’ properties were destroyed in a mistimed airstrike in Kaduna on December 13, 2022
At least 64 people were killed and many injured in a 19 December 2022 Nigerian Air Force airstrike on the Mutumji community in the Maru local government of Zamfara on 19 December 2022.
The Air Chief said he has established a committee to investigate past incidents and the circumstances that led to the attacks.
This was stated in the December issue of the official magazine of the Nigerian Air Force, Airman, which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday.
Amao said: “I strongly believe that efforts to mitigate and respond to civilian damage are a direct reflection of our values as a Service, as doing so is a strategic and moral imperative. Therefore, we must keep in mind that taking appropriate measures to minimize civilian casualties can further the NAF’s mission objectives; help maintain support from vulnerable populations; and enhance the legitimacy and sustainability of NAF operations critical to Nigeria’s national security.
“Concerned about the need for additional measures to minimize civilian damage and casualties, as well as to take all possible precautions in air strike strategies and methods to be implemented to avoid, or at least minimize collateral civilian damage, I recently instituted a committee of officers to collect all reports of accidental attacks against civilians, as well as to investigate the circumstances that led to such attacks.”
He also said that he had instructed the committee to interview those who might have been affected, as well as local authorities and government officials, all to offer far-reaching recommendations that would mitigate future harm to civilians in NAF operations. .
“We must accept that the need for effective civilian harm investigations and reviews can help address important questions for affected victims or their families, promote accountability, and allow the NAF to learn valuable lessons in preventing or mitigating similar harm in the future,” he said. aggregate.