Super Tucano operations will be intelligence-driven, it will be used only on terrorists – NAF

Air Commodore WAP Maigida

In a chat with The PUNCH on Thursday, the Acting Director, Defence Information, Air Commodore Wap Maigida, said the fighter jets would be used for intelligence driven operations.

When asked if measures were in place that would ensure that innocent citizens in bandits’ captivity would not be affected during operations, the air force spokesman said,  “The Armed Forces of Nigeria has respect for human rights and we would only  use it (Super Tucano) on terrorists. We understand the aircraft is a very strategic aircraft and it would be used for highly intelligence driven operations. Anything we are hitting would be terrorists. I can tell you the pilots have gone through rigorous training to be able to use the equipment. We are assuring Nigerians that those fighter jets would be well utilised.”

In the past, the Air Force during some missions against mistakenly bombed civilian targets.

On 17 January 2017, a Nigerian Air Force jet mistakenly bombed an IDP camp near the Cameroonian border in Rann, Borno State killing at least 115 people including six aid workers while more than 100 others were injured. On April 09, 2020, a military air strike on Shokotoko village in Damboa LGA, Borno State resulted in numerous civilian casualties. On September 17, 2021 no fewer than nine people were killed and 23 others injured in an air strike at the Buhari village in Yobe. On November 12, 2021 air strikes launched by a Nigerian military fighter jet at Fulani herdsmen settlements in the Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, reportedly killed about 1,500 cows belonging to the herdsmen.

A former Army Intelligence Officer, Col Hassan Stan-Labo (retd), in an interview with one of our correspondents, urged the military pilots to be cautious while going on these operations, stressing that if the supreme price must be paid by some victims in the interest of the country, so be it.

He said, “The key word here is caution on the part of the pilots. Nigerian combat pilots are some of the best trained in precision bombing. These pilots will bring all these expertise to play in the course of execution. However, wars are never fought and won on the platter of sentiments and emotions.

“The enemy should never be given the freedom to alter your battle plans or strategy by whatever guise including the use of victims as shield. If it becomes necessary that the supreme price must be paid by some victims in the national interest, then so be it. They like soldiers have given their today for our tomorrow. They died as heroes.”

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