The residents of Buhari Village in the Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State who were attacked by a fighter jet of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on September 15 have been given N10,000 each as compensation.
According to a report by The Cable, Dauda Busari, the chairman of Yunusari LGA, and Musa Dambari, the lawmaker representing his constituency, gave the injured victims and families of the deceased N10,000 each.
The tragic incident, according to Edward Gabkwet, NAF director of public relations and information, happened when the jet was targeting members of the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP).
He said the jet mistakenly attacked the village, which has about 1,000 residents.
Residents of the community who spoke with this newspaper, however, said they had not experienced any attack from insurgent groups in the past three months, and that at the time they thought their community was free of insurgents’ activities.
Another resident, Musa Goni who lost his brother in the incident said, “There was no Boko Haram in the town at the time of the incident and no sign of insurgents. And for the past three months, there have not been activities of the insurgents in our community.”
Goni, from the hospital bed, said he lost his brother, Mustapha, a 31-year-old farmer, who was in search of what to have for breakfast when the airstrike took his life.
“My elder brother died as a result of the incident, and my daughter, who was two years old, sustained injury and she is currently in the hospital receiving treatment,” Goni narrated his predicament.
Yasarumat, their mother, said Hauwa, her granddaughter, was severely injured in the airstrike, adding that the death of her son was very painful and unbearable.
“He died in the morning when he was about to go get his breakfast,” she said as she sat on the hospital bed next to Hauwa Goni Mustapha, the daughter of the deceased who was also injured in the attack.
Also speaking about the incident, Haruna Musa, a resident, said he lost two of his brothers, who were in a tricycle when the strike hit the village.
Musa said he was on the farm when the incident occurred but Mohammed and Ibrahim Audu, his brothers, were in transit when they were struck by the military airstrike.
Confirming the number of the victims, Musa said “nine people were killed and 24 people injured.”
Musa, therefore, said the monetary compensation brought to the villagers was not enough to bring back the dead or return their ruined properties, adding that the government needs to do more than that to compensate them.
“I was on the farm when the blast happened. There are people that died in my family. In the town, nine people died and in my family alone two people died. We are of the same mother and father. Their names are Mohammed and Ibrahim Audu,” he said.
“They were in a tricycle when the incident happened. Politicians came to the hospital and gave N10,000 to the victims and families of the people that died.
“The local government chairman, Dauda Busari and Ahmed Musa Dabouri are the politicians that came to share the money.
“The N10,000 they gave us is not enough to treat those that were injured and can’t return the lives of the dead. We want them to do more for us because we lost lives and properties.
“My house was destroyed and my two camels and cows were killed in the incident.”
This is not the first time communities in the north-east would be accidentally hit by military airstrikes.
NAF’s misfiring of January 17, 2017, in Rann, Borno state, left 126 aid workers and refugees dead.
NAF said it set up a board of inquiry to “thoroughly” investigate the circumstances of the incident in Yobe.
In his reaction, Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe, directed government hospitals in Geidam and Damaturu to provide free medical services to those who sustained wounds in the disaster.