54 victims of Military bomb misfire in Rann, Headquarters of Kala-Balge, are currently hospitalized in three hospitals located in Maiduguri with all of them in stable conditions, the Borno State Commissioner for Health, Dr Haruna Mshelia said in an update released on Wednesday.
Dr Mshelia said of the 54 victims, 32 persons are receiving treatment at the State Specialist Hospital; 16 victims are being treated at 7th Division Military Hospital in Maimalari Barack while 6 persons are hospitalized at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
The Commissioner said in a statement emailed to journalists from the Government House in Maiduguri, that all the 54 hospitalized victims are in stable conditions with medical experts from the State, humanitarian partners and the military attending to their health needs.
The Commissioner said it was still too early to give an accurate number of deaths because as at the time of issuing the update, evacuation of survivors was still ongoing using four helicopters provided by the United Nations and the Nigerian Air Force. Dr Mshelia also said that bodies were being recovered.
The Commissioner said humanitarian partners like the MSF, International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the United Nations and different stakeholders have been extremely dedicated to the emergency evacuation and medical response. He also said Governor Kashim Shettima has since morning deployed his Deputy, Usman Mamman Durkwa and the House of Representatives member, representing Kala-Balge, Bama, Dikwa and Ngala federal constituency of Borno State, Mamman Nur Sheriff and the Assembly member among other officials to scene of the incident at Rann, Headquarters of Kala-Balge local government area in order to assess the situation and supervise evacuation of victims to Maiduguri.
While the Deputy Governor was at Rann, Governor Shettima was scheduled to meet officials of the Nigerian Air Force to get formal brief on the incident. The Governor was also remained in Maiduguri to coordinate responses from different quarters and ensure all appropriate steps were being taken.
While in Maiduguri, Governor Shettima received a Presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari who came alongside the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, Minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishaken, Chief Army Staff, Lt-Gen TY Buratai and Chief of Army Sadiq Abubakar and other military officers from within and outside Borno State.
” The President and C-in-C is very distressed about the incident, and has instructed us to embark on this condolence visit. This kind of incident happens occassionally in war, especially when dealing with terrorists like Boko Haram who arbitrarily and in cowardly fashion hide among civilians. The President deeply regrets the incident. The Armed forces will take extra care to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The Federal Government is working with the State, Local, and International partners to ensure speedy resettlement of IDPs” the Chief of Staff said.
Governor Shettima thanked the delegation for the visit, describing the incident as a painful prize of war.
“It is a very sad tragedy that is an unfortunate prize of war. They often call it ‘friendly fire’ and it is as old as history of wars around the world. They are always unfortunate and going memory lane, we have had examples of friendly fires during the 1st and 2nd World Wars, ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and other parts of the world. We pray this never happens. I think it is gratifying that nobody made any effort to hide anything or sweep things under carpet. In years gone by, people would have resorted to blame games but instead, responsibilities were accepted and focus was channeled towards evacuation, rehabilitation of victims and empathy for families and the entire people of Borno State. We pray that this crisis ends and we are determined to pick up the pieces of our lives as a people” Shettima said.
Our correspondent reports that following the unfortunate situation at Rann in Kala-Balge local government area of Borno State, Governor Shettima had ordered the State Ministry of Health to set up an emergency medical response teams and coordinate rehabilitation of victims.
The Governor Shettima had on Tuesday, received the news with shock and very deep concern and has remained in touch with Government officials at the local level in Kala-Balge while interfacing with Humanitarian partners and other stakeholders and issuing directives for steps being taken at the State level.