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The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said on Wednesday that though sad, the Tuesday accidental bombing of a civilian population in his state was not unique.
The governor said several wars that shaped the history of mankind were not ended without cases of people dying, not from the bullets of the enemy, but by friendly fire of their own soldiers.
The governor who made this comment when the federal government delegation paid him a sympathy visit at the Government House Maiduguri, said though the state was grieved by the “unfortunate incident”, his government still remains grateful to the soldiers for the role they have played so far in securing Borno from Boko Haram.
“The incidence of friendly fire is as old as the history of mankind. They constituted up to 5 to 20 per cent of all casualties in war. From the war of the Rose of 1471 to the English civil war of 1643, to the Napoleonic wars, to the American war of independence down to the first and second world wars, such incidences like people dying out of friendly firing were very rampant.
“On 3rd May 1945, the RAF fighter pilot attacked three German ships; and unknown to the pilot, those German ships were carrying concentration camp survivors and allied prisoners of war. Ten thousand people perished in that attack alone. And even very recently, there was an incidence in Afghanistan where United States fighter pilots attacked a hospital…killing 25 persons including women and children. So also in Syria when a coalition air strike attacked a wedding convoy killing 25 people; was the case in Iraq.
“We are not justifying the sad incident of Tuesday; but we are going down memory to show the world that such incident usually occurs in times of war”.
The governor said rather than being angry at the soldiers for what happened, he was happy with the soldiers’ uncommon candour by coming out on time to tell the world the truth about the incident.
“We have to commend the military for the way and manner they managed the incident”, he said.
“As bad as the incident was, nobody tried to hide it, nobody tried to sweep it under the carpet. We have to commend the Nigerian armed forces for the forthrightness they displayed by coming out and telling the world exactly what happened. If not for what they did yesterday (Tuesday), people would have resort to the blame game and name-calling; some may even accuse me Kashim Shettima of planting the bomb in Rann to kill his own people.
“And for us in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, we cannot but thank the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for all the support he has given us. Three years ago, Maiduguri was effectively in a circle, you can’t go beyond ten kilometres away from each entrance to the city. The only accessible road was the Maiduguri-Kano road, which was also haunted by incessant attacks by Boko Haram.
“So we in the north-east remain eternally grateful to the government of Muhammadu Buhari for reclaiming our land and for returning peace to us.”Bomb victims
Mr. Shettima sad Boko Haram have been degraded “as such they no longer cause a threat to us.
“Once in a while they may have planted bomb in the streets to attack innocent people; but believe me, we have crossed the Rubicon and the worst is over.”