Army chief visits Tudun Biri, tenders apology over bombing mishap

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COAS Lagbaja in Tudun Biri

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja on Tuesday paid a condolence visit to Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, where a drone strike killed dozens of residents during a Maulud ceremony on Sunday evening.

Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu disclosed this in a statement.

Nwachukwu said the Army chief arrived in the community early Tuesday accompanied by Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, where he met with the Dangaladima Zazau, the District Head of Rigasa, Arc. Aminu Idris, other leaders and members of the community.

Lagbaja 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.

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He disclosed that he has ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident to ascertain and identify areas of deficiency that led to the inadvertent disaster, adding that the findings and overarching outcome of the investigation will guide the Nigerian 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 in an emotion laden speech expressed regrets on the unfortunate mishap, describing it as a very disheartening occurrence.

“Speaking further, Gen Lagbaja noted that in the recent past, the general area of Tudun Biri and adjoining villages were infested with armed bandits, who terrorised the communities, until troops of the Nigerian Army started conducting operations to sanitise the area and make it habitable.

“He pointed out that the troops were carrying out aerial patrols when they observed a group of people and wrongly analysed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits, before the drone strike,” the statement read in part.

The District Head of Rigasa, Arc. 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 succour to hospitalised victims and the community for their losses.

He maintained that the community is a mixed community of both Muslims and Christians and that the victims are of both faith, contrary to earlier insinuation that the community is solely Muslim.

The COAS also commiserated with the Chairman Jamaa’atu Nasru Islam, Kaduna State, Prof. Shafiu Abdullahi and other clerics.

Lagbaja equally visited affected victims at the Barua Dikko Teaching Hospital Anguwan Rimi, Kaduna, where he expressed concern for the speedy recuperation of the hospitalized persons and made an immediate donation of several provisions for their upkeep.

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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