No fewer than 54 victims of Military bomb misfire in Rann, Headquarters of Kala-Balge, are currently hospitalized in three hospitals located in Maiduguri
Borno State Commissioner for Health, Dr Haruna Mshelia said in an update on Wednesday that 32 persons are receiving treatment at the State Specialist Hospital; 16 victims are being treated at 7th Division Military Hospital in Maimalari Barack while 6 persons are hospitalized at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
He said it was still too early to give an accurate number of deaths because as at the time of issuing the update, evacuation of survivors was still ongoing using four helicopters provided by the United Nations and the Nigerian Air Force.
The Commissioner said humanitarian partners like the MSF, International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the United Nations and different stakeholders had been extremely dedicated to the emergency evacuation and medical response.
He also said Governor Kashim Shettima deployed his Deputy, Usman Mamman Durkwa and the House of Representatives member, representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala federal constituency of Borno State, Mamman Nur Sheriff and the Assembly member among other officials to the scene to supervise evacuation of victims to Maiduguri.
While in Maiduguri, Governor Shettima received a Presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari who came alongside the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, Minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishaken, Chief Army Staff, Lt-Gen TY Buratai and Chief of Army Sadiq Abubakar and other military officers operating within and outside Borno State.
”The President and C-in-C is very distressed about the incident, and has instructed us to embark on this condolence visit.
“This kind of incident happens occassionally in war, especially when dealing with terrorists like Boko Haram who arbitrarily and in cowardly fashion hide among civilians. The President deeply regrets the incident.
“The Armed forces will take extra care to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The Federal Government is working with the State, Local, and International partners to ensure speedy resettlement of IDPs”, the Chief of Staff said.
Governor Shettima said the incident was an unfortunate tragedy and a painful price of war.
“It is most unfortunate and wasn’t meant to happen. Nothing can justify this tragedy but going memory lane, incidents of friendly fire is unfortunately as old as history of wars in the world.
“There are many incidents of friendly fires since the 1st and 2nd World Wars down to ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and other parts of the world.
“It is gratifying that nobody made any effort to hide anything or sweep things under carpet. In years gone by, people would have resorted to blame games. I am happy that rather than blame game, information was made public with sincerity, mistakes were accepted and focus was channeled into evacuation and rehabilitation of victims.
“War comes with different kinds of very terrible prizes and this is one of such painful prizes. We pray this crisis ends and we shall remain forever grateful to all stakeholders for their support”, Shettima said.