The unintentional bombing of civilians in Tudun Biri, Kaduna State, has stirred tensions between the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Air Force (NAF). The incident, involving an unmanned drone, has prompted discontent within the armed forces, with the Air Force expressing displeasure over the Army’s role in the operation that led to the tragic event.
Sources, speaking to Daily Trust, revealed the growing unrest within the military ranks, highlighting the dissatisfaction of air troops engaged in various operations. The accidental bombing has raised concerns about the integration of air operations into the Army’s activities, with some sources suggesting a lack of trust in this collaborative approach.
The Nigerian Army has taken responsibility for the bombing, attributing it to an attempt to target terrorists in the region. Lt. Gen. Taoheed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, visited the site to offer condolences and provided relief materials, including a cash donation of N10 million.
However, within the military, there are voices expressing reservations about the Army’s involvement in air operations. A NAF officer emphasized the need for technical expertise and intelligence gathering in air operations, suggesting that the roles of each service should be clearly defined.
“Those who define roles for each of the services are not daft. The most important thing is for us to work together. Honestly, I don’t think army officers should delve into air operations,” commented one of the sources.
The incident comes against the backdrop of the Nigerian Army’s revival of its aviation unit in September 2023, with the approved procurement of 12 attack helicopters. The Chief of Army Staff stated that these helicopters would enhance the agility, responsiveness, and efficacy of ground troops during operations.
However, the accidental bombing in Kaduna has heightened tensions between the Army and the Air Force. In response, the NAF swiftly distanced itself from the incident, emphasizing that it had not carried out operations in the region within the last 24 hours. The Air Force also criticized those attributing the incident solely to its organization, highlighting that other entities operated combat armed drones in the Northwestern region of Nigeria.