Monday, 13 January 2014

Army Fighter Jet Hits Senator Ndume's Convoy In Gwoza

EVERLY HILLS, CA, January 12, (THEWILL) -  It was a narrow escape for
Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume as he escaped death by the whiskers when a
Nigerian Army fighter jet on routine onslaught on Boko Haram
insurgents in the Gwoza area of Borno State dropped some bombs close
to the people of Pulka village who had trooped out to welcome him as
he made a trip to his country home in Gwoza weekend.

The bomb was said to have ripped through an area close to the crowd
throwing many off the road but no fatality was reported.

Ndume, who narrated his experience to journalists on Sunday in
Maiduguri, said he was shaken by the incident.

He said when he complained to the military, he was told the bomb
attack was an operational blunder and   not targeted at him.

Ndume, who said he was personally driving his vehicle when the
incident happened, explained that  he was on his way to commiserate
with his people who were attacked by Boko Haram gunmen at a border
settlement called Ardoko.

He noted that the incident  had shown that innocent citizens were
being killed at various times by the military who always come to the
public to announce successes against the insurgents.

"I was on my way to Gwoza and had to stop by in Pulka village which is
some few kilometres away from Gwoza to attend to some of my people
that came to welcome me there.

There was a military post there too and I even exchanged pleasantries
with the soldiers before proceeding.

"But as we began to move through Pulka, I had a massive explosion and
some others ones followed.

Initially, I thought it was the Boko Haram that were attacking us; we
even thought it was some people waiving at us from the road side that
detonated the bomb.

"When we stopped, one of the army personnel that were escorting me
said 'Oga, the bombs were from the Airforce', so we had to immediately
return to the military post that we left some few yards behind us for
a cover.

"At the military base, the soldiers there tried to establish
communication with the pilot of the jet but could not get across.

And after some minutes they said that it might be an operational
blunder from the Nigerian Air Force, " he explained.

"Even if it was an operational hitch as they claimed,   how could an
Air  Force pilot fire four bombs at a moving convoy being escorted by
soldiers and police on a federal highway without bothering to check
with the ground forces.

It was God that saved lives because the bombs landed not far away from
where young children were standing by the road side inside the

"I thank God for sparing my life; I could have been dead or members of
convoy too would have been killed, and when the military say it was a
blunder, only their story would have been heard, perhaps there
wouldn't be any other person to speak for me," the lawmaker lamented.

Ndume called for a probe of the incident , saying he  immediately sent
a message to the Chief of Army Staff, who responded at once expressing
concern and apologies.

He however said the Chief of Air Staff who received similar message
had not responded to him .

The Senator said  his convoy was being escorted by seven armed
soldiers who were leading ahead, and escorted from behind by the
another patrol vehicle conveying five police officers.

He added that the distance between the military post and the spot
where the bombs hit the ground behind his convoy was less than 500

Ndume said   an army officer at Pulka told him that the Air Force may
have been responding to an alert that some Boko Haram gunmen were
attacking a village which was some 30 kilometres  away.

But the officer who blamed the Air  Force for always attacking without
checking out their target was clearly told that the Boko Haram gunmen
were escaping on foot and not driving a convoy of jeeps led by
military detachment.

The 7 Division of the Nigeria Army and the 79 Composite Group of the
Nigeria Air  Force could not be reached for the confirmation on the
attack when filing this report.

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