A senior Nigerian military official said the cause of the accidental
bombing of a displaced persons camp in the country’s northeast in
January was the result of incorrect coordinates.
Nigerian Major General Leo Irabor told a visiting U.N. Security
Council delegation Sunday that the January 17 bombing in the town of
Rann, which killed 236 civilians, was a “grave mistake” that was the
result of faulty information.
“The coordinates that were received gave indications that there were
presence of Boko Haram within the vicinity,” Irabor said. “It’s just
that the wrong coordinates were utterly given.”
He went on to say that although he was not trying to justify the
military’s error, two days later Boko Haram did attack the town, which
is located in Borno state – the epicenter of the group’s insurgency.
“Wherein that we killed 15 Boko Haram terrorists, and a vehicle
mounted with an anti-aircraft gun was also recovered amongst other
weapons that were recovered from the Boko Haram terrorists. So that of
course, gives some correlation as to what intelligence we received
before that encounter,” said Irabor.
In the incident, a military jet dropped two bombs on the camp for
displaced persons in Rann. At the time of the attack aid distribution
was taking place and many women and children were killed, as well as
at least nine humanitarian workers from the Nigerian Red Cross and the
International Committee for the Red Cross.
A delegation of U.N. Security Council ambassadors visited Maiduguri on
Sunday to see conditions at an IDP camp and met with the military for
a briefing on their battle against Boko Haram.
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, who is president of the council
this month and a co-leader of the mission to West Africa, welcomed the
investigation into the bombing.
“Bearing in mind the importance of accountability and learning
lessons, I’m glad that the Rann camp incident is being followed up
with an investigation and encourage you to make that public when
possible and make sure measures are put in place to prevent a
recurrence,” he said.
Human Rights groups had previously criticized the military for
conducting the investigation without a broader group of investigators,
including civil society