ECOWAS President, Marcel Alain de Souza
ECOWAS President, Marcel Alain de Souza

By Oladapo Okeowo

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed its dismay at the news of the bombing of the Rann refugee camp in Northeast Nigeria.

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This is contained in a statement posted on the bloc’s website and signed by its president, Mr Marcel Alain de Souza.

The bombing occurred on Tuesday, January 17 and was confirmed by the military spokesperson, Rabe Abubakar, a brigadier general, who said it was an error that the military deeply regrets.

“The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was dismayed to learn about the bombing of the Rann refugee camp in North-eastern Nigeria, near the Cameroon border, causing the death of more than 100 people and leaving 120 wounded on Tuesday, 17 January 2017. The Commission has learned from the information provided by Major General Lucky Irabor that this incident is an error of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) during strikes against a group of Boko Haram terrorists gathering in Kala-Balge region.”

The bloc stated its regret and expressed its deepest condolences to the families of the refugees who dies or were only injured in the tragic accident.

“The ECOWAS Commission regrets this incident and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the refugees and people who died during the strikes, to the Nigerian government and to the people of Nigeria, and wishes all the wounded a quick recovery.

It exhorted the government in its effort to investigate the cause of the accident and asked that it not relent till it finds the truth.

“The ECOWAS Commission encourages the Government of Nigeria to do its utmost to carry out the envisaged investigations and to prevent such errors from occurring in the future.

“The ECOWAS Commission expresses its full solidarity with the Government and the people of Nigeria at this trying period in the fight against Boko Haram and reiterates its unfaltering support to Nigeria and all refugees who are victims of Boko Haram Terrorist acts.

ECOWAS urged the armed forces to be more careful in handling their weapons even as they keep on the fight against terrorists in Nigeria and West Africa.