Nigeria air strike error kills dozens of refugees

A Nigerian air strike mistakenly bombed a camp for displaced people, killing at least 52 people and injuring many more.

Nigeria air strike error kills dozens of refugees

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigeria’s air force killed at least 52 people and injured 120 in an air strike on a refugee camp in the country’s northeast on Tuesday, a tragedy the president’s office called a “regrettable operational mistake”.

Humanitarian groups and Nigeria’s military said the strike – meant to target militants of the Boko Haram  insurgency – occurred in Rann in Borno state.

“At least 52 people were killed nd 120 wounded,” said Tim Shenk, a spokesman from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical charity. “The organization’s medical and surgical teams in the region are preparing to treat evacuated patients,” he added.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said six Nigeria Red Cross members were killed and 13 wounded in the bombing. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the deaths “underline the importance of protecting civilians in complex humanitarian emergencies”.

“The president pledges federal help for the state government in attending to this regrettable operational mistake,” said Femi Adesina, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, in an emailed statement.

The Boko Haram insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people since 2010 and forced some two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps for internally displaced people.

Boko Haram on the move

The air strike came amid an offensive against Boko Haram by Nigeria’s military over the last few weeks. Buhari said last month a key camp in the group’s Sambisa forest base in Borno state had fallen.

The presidency also said the air strike occurred during the “final phase of mopping up insurgents in the northeast”.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in recent weeks as the end of the rainy season has enabled its fighters to move more easily in the bush.

A video featuring an audio recording purporting to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, which was posted on social media late on Monday, said the group was behind twin suicide bombings at a university earlier that day which killed two and injured 17 others.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Ocak 2017, 10:10