The Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Army, Taoreed Lagbaja, has apologised for a drone strike that mistakenly killed no fewer than 88 worshippers in Tudun Biri, Kaduna state.
Lagbaja made the apology during a visit to the affected community on Tuesday.
He said the military has launched a thorough inquiry into the incident to ascertain and identify areas of deficiency that led to the incident.
According to Lagbaja, the army’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detachment observed the movement of terrorists at Ligarma, an area notorious for being a haven of insurgents. He said upon adjudging them to be similar to those of the terrorists, the military decided to strike. Unfortunately, the persons were innocent worshippers.
Lagbaja said that the military is committed to preventing future occurrences of this nature. He said that the findings and overarching outcome of the investigation will guide the Army in meticulously and professionally seeking and applying lasting solutions to identified lapses and deficiencies in both the human and Artificial Intelligence variables that will forestall future recurrence.
The COAS stated that he was in Tudun Biri to personally witness the site of the mishap and to convey sincere regrets and unreserved apologies on behalf of the Nigerian Army to the District Head and people of the community, as well as the Government and entire people of Kaduna State.
The District Head of Rigasa, Architect Aminu Idris, in his remarks, said despite the enormity of the incident, the Nigerian Army showed integrity in accepting responsibility for the drone strike and urged its leadership to intervene in bringing assistance to hospitalised victims and the community for their losses.