NAF’s bombing of civilians may translate to war crimes, says HURIWA

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday, cautioned the Nigerian Air Force to be wary of committing ‘war crimes’ through accidental and sporadic bombardment of civilians during its aerial attacks on terrorist hideouts in Northern Nigeria.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, demanded a probe of airstrikes of the Air Force on civilian settlements, which have allegedly killed and injured countless persons.

The group referred to NAF’s recent bombardment of a hospital and other healthcare facilities in the Sambisa forest. where wounded and sick terrorists and their family members are treated.

The bombing, according to news report, was conducted by air component of the Operation Hadin Kai on September 9, 2022.

Onwubiko said: “These apparent excesses of the Nigerian Air Force and sister military agencies must not be swept under the carpet. There are many other undocumented cases like the ones stated above where NAF airstrikes against terrorists killed innocent civilians, but these cases did not make it to the media.

“The recent bombing of a so-called terrorist health centre in Sambisa forest in Borno State may have added to the growing list of the military’s excesses, especially if it emerges that civilian hostages kept by the terrorists were affected.

“HURIWA demands that the government investigate if truly the hospital was bombed as mentioned in several stories by credible national dailies were actually hospital and government to offer reasons why that isn’t a war crime, so it is clear that Nigeria is waging a just war.

“Whilst HURIWA does not advocate any form of soft treatment for terrorists and enemies of the State, it is important that the Nigerian Air Force and its sister agencies operate within acceptable global statutes, which forbid war crimes and attack on innocent civilians that terrorists use as human shields.

“We further advocate massive support by all and sundry in Nigeria to the law based counter terror war of the Federal Government and wish that Nigeria is quickly returned to the path of lasting peace and tranquility in the shortest possible time this year.”

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