The Secretary to Niger State Government, Ahmed Matane, has confirmed how airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on January 24 killed about 30 vigilantes and displaced about 8,150 people from Galadima-Kogo and environs in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger.
Many members of a vigilance group and their commander were killed in the blast.
The area bombed had Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge at some facilities.
Confirming the strike, Matane told NAN in Minna on Saturday that the aircraft belongs to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), which was not aware that security personnel was in the area.
Matane who said the jet was not a mysterious aircraft as being rumoured, added that the state government was aware of the presence of IDPs in the area.
He explained that the government had discussed with Shiroro Local Government Council officials and the management of the North-South Power (NSP) facilities in the area that provide shelter for the IDPs.
“We are doing an assessment to deal with the matter, and we are also dealing with the issue of those who lost their lives from the angle of security personnel that were accidentally affected.
“We have recorded some deaths, and are attending to the injured in hospitals.
“Relief materials are being processed to take to victims and the government wants to ensure that security is provided at the IDP camps,” he said.
One of the displaced victims, Rabi Musa said the residents saw the aircraft flying through on Tuesday only to hear a very loud bang that shook the area.
“Many of our people were killed, aside from the vigilante members. We ran to take shelter at the NSP facilities; right now no single person is left in our community; it is deserted.
“Since we came here, nobody has come to our aid; not even a single government official. We don’t have water to drink, not even to take our bath; we are suffering,” she said.
Youth Leader in Galadima-Kogo, Ibrahim Bahago, said the community was told on Tuesday that bandits were going through the area.
He said vigilantes went toward the route the bandits were passing through in the company of other security operatives but were ambushed.
“Our vigilantes were ambushed and the next thing we heard was a very loud sound and it was a bomb thrown at the vigilantes protecting us. Many of them died.
“Since we came here no government official has come to our aid.
Bahago accused the state government of neglecting the victims and leaving them to their devices.
ASHENEWS recalls that this will be the third time that NAF jets would strike at people who are not bandits.
The first attack was in Kurebe village where six children were killed. This was followed by another strike that killed seven people in the village.