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Military airstrike killed ISWAP fighters, not fishermen – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said the recently launched airstrike in Borno killed fighters of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), and not fishermen.

Some villagers had alleged that the airstrike by the Nigerian military killed no fewer than 20 fishermen at Kwatan Daban Masara general area on September 26th, 2021.

But, Benard Onyeuko, acting director, defence media operations in a statement on Thursday, said the insurgents were disguising as fishermen. He insisted that the military had gathered enough intelligence before launching the strike.

The statement read in part: “For the records, it is pertinent to state that the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI on 26 September 2021, acting on credible actionable intelligence on the activities of terrorists in an identified ISWAP Camp at the said location, conducted air strikes on the target.

“This was after careful Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions revealed the activities of ISWAP elements in the location. Persons wearing combat vests and uniforms identified as ISWAP-styled uniforms were seen within the camp.

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“Furthermore, neither women nor children were noticed in or around the camp, just as no fishing activities were seen. Instead, canoes loaded with unidentified items were seen parked but not engaged in any fishing activity, an indication that they were to be ferried to another location.

“Having carefully ascertained that nearby civilian settlements were not in the line of fire and a precision strike would disrupt ISWAP logistics movement and neutralize them; a decision was made to conduct a strike on the ISWAP camp. Although casualty figures could not be ascertained, the strike was verified to be successful in disrupting ISWAP logistics movement and foot soldiers.

“It is important to state that the location is a well-known ISWAP enclave and there is an existing ban on fishing activities within the area. The Nigerian Military wishes to state categorically that necessary steps were taken to ensure that the presence of the terrorists was ascertained and the strike was precise and professionally executed. “

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