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Military-Ops Misact: Assessing The Nigerian Air Force Error

Victims of NAF airstrike

Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, the Nigerian Air force Director of Public Relations and Information stands in woe besides the operation Lafia Dole theatre commandant Lucky Irabor in Maiduguri to announce the unprecedented death and casualties of civilians during the military air operations in Maiduguri.
The regrettable military airstrikes mistook the internally displaced person’s camp for the Boko Haram terrorist hideout and unknowingly killed hundreds and injured many. But is the NAF action accidental? This article examines.
Generally, in air raids, misaim of targets are not very uncommon. In both international and local scenes, civilian killings during airstrikes have been severally recorded. Take a look at the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan or the US based military coalition in Syria where there have been high accounts of accidental and non accidental killings of innocent civilians. Also, remember the Yemen tragedy where harmless civilians were hit by Saudi-led airstrikes at a funeral ceremony resulting in deaths of 140 yemens. These deaths were either blamed on miscalculated information or mistaken identity by the responsible parties.
In most tragic airstrike errors, wrong military intelligence is often associated with it. Same is the case of  the Nigerian Air Force. Had it been a thorough cross examination of the information was done earlier, it could have averted the mass death of the civilians.
In the reports made by the Air operations commandant, he stressed on the “exigency of the mission” as a reason for lack of proper investigation hence the cause of the bombing of the IDPs camp. This maybe a possible factor. In situations of emergency, military forces act with speed therefore collateral damage estimation or proper cross-checks may not be done as there will be no time. War commandant and military attorneys will have no privilege to decide outrightly the outcome of the strike.
Another reason cited as cause of the dismal failure of the NAF was the communication void. The humanitarian workers somewhat fail to inform the NAF of the newly cited IDPs camp at Rann in kala Balge of Maiduguri. This reason may have greatly influenced the futility of the mission. Where there’s adequately less information on where civilians might be, there is always greater collateral damage. In such situation, civilian deaths will be regarded as accidental.
However, there is a national demand on the Nigerian Air Forces to improve its technology and intelligence. Better technology will help the Nigerian forces to reach a more high-value target and drop bomb only on specific location. Accurate information will create space for a more responsive and calculated mission.
Certainly, preplanned airstrikes are way off better than emergency airstrikes. It will allow for collateral damage assessment beforehand. The NAF needs to develop early planning attitude.
It is however understandable that the insurgency war is a “savage war of peace”. But no matter how its fought, it must receive the support of the people. And with the civilian deaths , the supports will only erode off

 

Published by Mojisola Ogundiran

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