Former Anambra state governor, Peter Obi has demanded an investigation into the recent accidental military air strike on Tudun Biri village in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Obi also urged the federal government to give the military and other security agencies enough funding to improve their operations.
Obi made this plea during his visit to the victims at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in the state capital on Tuesday.
He noted that the country has so far recorded 16 accidental military bombings that claimed over 500 lives, and no decisive has been taken by the Federal Government to avert a repeat of such tragedies.
The Labourn Party 2023 presidential candidate, however, stressed the need for the government to support the military to ensure that incidents like accidental bombings do not happen again.
Obi also called for a thorough investigation into the military air strike and proposed the establishment of a foundation to assist the victims of the Tudun Biri drone attack, especially those who have been orphaned as a result of the incident.
De Erudite Media reported that an air strike intended to flush out terrorists had on Sunday night accidentally hit civilians during a religious celebration at Tudun Biri.
While the Army claimed responsibility for the incident, the National Emergency Management Agency had on Monday night put the casualty figure at 85, adding that 66 victims sustained injuries.
But the accidental bombing on Tuesday attracted more condemnations from the pan-Northern political and cultural association, the Arewa Consultative Forum, and the Jama’tu Nasril Islam, saying that those found culpable should be punished.
On their part, President Bola Tinubu, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar mourned the victims of the bombing.
As the nation mourned the dead, survivors of the bombing recounted their experiences.
Forty-five-year-old Saudatu Alamagani, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the community was bombed twice.
Alamagani, who narrowly escaped being killed in the attack, said the incident started like a Nollywood movie around 10pm when a large number of Muslims celebrating Maulud, the birthday of Muhammad, were bombed.
She said while celebrating the Maulud, “The military started raining bombs on us’’, adding that at first, the worshippers mistook their attackers to be bandits.
She stated that while everybody scampered for safety, dead bodies littered “everywhere.”
She stated that while members of the community went in search of motorcycle operators to convey the critically injured to the nearest medical facilities for treatment, the military bombed the community again.
“They bombed us twice,” she said, adding that “it all started around 10pm when the military started bombing our community. We were celebrating the Maulud, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
“While we were looking for motorcycles to convey those that critically needed medical attention to the hospital, the military returned with the bombardment. Many villagers including women, men, children, and even pregnant women were killed during the attack.
“Four members of my family were killed in the attack. Some of the bodies of the dead littered the ground.”
Saudatu appealed to the government to assist members of the community, especially victims’ families to cushion the effect of the bomb attack.
Another survivor, 60-year-old Sulaiman Umar, told our correspondents that the village was bombed twice.
He stated, “I was eating that night when we were bombed. Many people died. We could hardly identify our children; some with their intestines out. They bombed us twice. After the first round of bombs, they came back to bomb us again.
“I ran into a deep forest where I slept till daybreak. We covered the dead with leaves. We separated the males from the females and covered them with leaves.”
Giving an update on the tragic incident, The Country Director of Amnesty International, Isah Sanusi, said officials of the organisation were on the ground at the affected communities and counted over 120 persons who died in the bombing.
He said, “I can confirm to you that the current number of casualties in the affected areas is more than 120 persons.”
He explained that there were at least 77 bodies buried in each of the mass graves, insisting that the casualty figure was higher than what NEMA stated.
“According to our contact who was at the scene of the mass burial, there were at least 77 dead bodies in each of the mass graves. There also 17 other persons who are from adjoining villages who lost their lives in the ugly incident,” he stated.
But the NEMA Chief Information Officer, Kaduna State, Halima Suleman, told one of our correspondents that the casualty figure of 85 persons released on Monday by the agency had not been updated when contacted on Tuesday.
She, however, stated that NEMA was intervening in the affected communities, as it took some of the injured persons to hospitals and was providing relief items to others.