President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sent a delegation comprising top government officials to Borno State, following an accidental bombing that took place on Tuesday in Rann.
The President’s team on condolence visit to the state include his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and service chiefs.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, confirmed the visit in his Twitter handle.
A scheduled weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council was also called off on Wednesday.
Although no official reason was given for the cancellation, some government officials said the accidental bombing could be responsible for the development.
Adesina had, on Tuesday in a statement, quoted the President as regretting the accidental bombings by the Nigerian Air Force, engaged in the final phase of mopping up insurgents in the North-east.
While wishing the wounded divine succour leading to full recovery, the President had also sympathised with the Borno State government.
Buhari pledged federal help for the state government in attending to what he called “regrettable operational mistake.”
He pleaded for calm and prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the dead.
Tragedy had struck on Tuesday when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, killing no fewer than 100 persons on the ground.
Aid workers confirmed to have been killed in the bombing included the officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), International Committee of the Red Cross and some refugees.
But the Nigerian Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it had begun an investigation into the accidental air strike.
The NAF Director of Information and Public Relations, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said, “We are saddened by today’s accidental air strike by our fighter jet at Rann, in which innocent lives were lost. While available information is still sketchy, the loss occasioned by this unfortunate incident is deeply regretted.
“We commiserate with the affected families and would update the public as soon as detailed facts emerge from the investigation.”
It was learnt that the accidental air strike happened at about 9am in Rann, in the far north of Borno State as aid workers distributed food to Internally Displaced Persons.