By Bukar Bolori
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Sunday explained the rationale why the Air Force didn’t attack the Boko Haram when Garkida came under attack by the insurgents recently. He, however, said those insurgents that came to attack Garkida will never be around to lift their arms against the nation again.
Abubakar said they have been tracked into the enclave and neutralized by the Nigerian Air Force.
He revealed that if the insurgents should have been engaged during the attack on Garkida, the AirForce would have killed more civilians than Boko Haram.
It would be recalled that the Air Force had come under public criticism for just hovering over Garkida during the attack on the town, which left some civilians killed, without firing at the insurgents.
Speaking in Maiduguri on Sunday while commissioning a newly built hangar, the Chief of Air Staff, said should the AirForce had taken on the insurgents during the attack on Garkida, Adamawa State many civilians would have been lost.
He said the right decision was taken to avert a disaster as the AirForce would have killed more civilians than Boko Haram if the insurgents had been taken on.
He said: “We should pray for the souls of those that are departed. It was very unfortunate, we must remember that war is tragic in itself. There are tragic events you cannot rule out completely.
“AirForce was there quite right, but the pilots that were there used their rules of engagement to determine that dropping bomb over Garkida would have killed more innocent people than Boko Haram that went to attack Garkida.”
He added that: “After all we can trace where these people came out from, which was exactly what was done. In the night the ISL platform was on top and we were able to see where they recovered to and early in the morning an attack was carried out on them and they were neutralized; they would never be around to carry out an attack again.”
He said: “I think that makes more sense rather than just you have an aircraft overheard and you are not sure who and where is Boko Haram, are you going to drop bombs on children, women and civilians.
“No we do not do that, we have rules of engagement. Where it is convenient to drop bombs, we drop bombs, where we think it makes more sense to hold on and get the real criminals whom we are out to deal with and get them to where we can get them without hurting others we do that and that was what the pilots did and it was an excellent decision.”
The CAS while in Maiduguri also meant with the officers in a close door meeting to further plan on how to make a success of the current air expeditions on the insurgents in the North East.