The Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ibrahim Matane, on Thursday confirmed the killing of six children by a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jet in the state.
The incident occurred last week in the Kurebe community, Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) during a raid on the bandits (terrorists).
When asked if six children were killed by a NAF fighter jet, Punch quotes Matane as responding: “Yes, it occurred, the government is looking into the incident and an investigation is ongoing to ascertain what happened.”
But in a statement this evening by Emmanuel Umar, the Commisioner for Local Government/Chieftaincy Affairs and Internal Security of Niger state, which was obtained by this newspaper, the government official denied the accidental killing of any civilian, saying “there are no civilians residence in these areas for sometimes now due to the infiltrations and activities of the terrorists”.
“The attention of the Niger State Government has been drawn to a report making the rounds on social media and other media platforms suggesting that some civilians were killed at Kurebe in Shiroro Local Government Area as a result of the ongoing Air and ground operations by the military and other security agencies in the state. To the best knowledge of the state government, there are no civilians residence in these areas for sometimes now due to the infiltrations and activities of the terrorists which forced the locals to seek shelter as IDPs in other parts of the state,” Umar said.
“The Niger State Government welcomes the ongoing intensified military operations in neighbouring states and in some local government areas in Niger state which includes Shiroro, Munya and other LGAs which is aimed at neutralising of bandits/terrorist in these environments.
“The efforts of the joint operations have yielded a lot of success which the state is happy as many bandits/terrorist have already been eliminated in the affected LGAs.
“Similarly, as part of joints efforts by the State Government in conjunction with security agencies have repelled bandits attacks in Shiroro and Munya LGA and rescued many abductees accordingly.
“While the State Government appreciates the victories recorded during these operations, it also looks forward to a sustained operations to eradicate bandits from the state. These efforts will no doubt restore confidence in the communities within the area, which will enable them return back to their farms.”