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Nigerian air force to investigate airstrikes killing in Mainok, Borno state

The Nigerian air force on Monday said it was investigating reports that its airstrikes accidentally killed ground troops in Mainok, Borno State.

A video of a soldier describing the attack had been circulating on social media.

“The NAF wishes to state that visuals and reports being circulated are currently being investigated and the general public will be duly updated on the alleged incident,” a statement on the Air Force’s verified Twitter page said.

The air force has been involved in a couple of tragedies this year.

An air force jet supporting ground troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists went missing in north-east Borno in March.

In February, seven officials died after a military plane crashed in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Friendly Fire

The air force bomber “accidentally” hit the wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents who had attacked the troops on Sunday, military sources said, as reported by online newspaper TheCable.

According to the sources, the insurgents had attacked a military base in Mainok and reportedly overpowered the troops, who then called for reinforcement.

But the reinforcement truck was shelled by the airstrike.

The truck which was sent for reinforcement was targeted and shelled by the air strike following a flawed intelligence, sources said.

One of the soldiers in the affected area told TheCable:

“They (Boko Haram) came with heavy machines, about four MRAPS (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicles and they overpowered the ground troops,” a soldier in the affected area told TheCable

“Troops sent signals for air support and when they came, it missed the main coordinates; where the air force shelled their bomb was on the location of troops instead of that of Boko Haram.

“The aircraft had to turn back. They realised that they mistargeted (and) most of the soldiers started running inside the bush.”

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