Nigerian military drone attack kills 85 civilians in error

SuchTV  |  Dec 05, 2023

According to international media reports, villagers in Tudun Biri in the state of Kaduna had gathered for the Maulud celebration when at about 9pm they heard what sounded like an aeroplane followed by a huge explosion.

“We couldn’t even run,” Danjuma Salisu, a survivor, said from his hospital bed, where he was being treated for hand and leg injuries.

According to local reports, villagers fled the area, fearing further strikes. Army officials and representatives from the Kaduna state government have met village elders, promising that those affected would be compensated.

The army said it had been carrying out “a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community”. It did not give casualty figures or explain how the accident had happened but local residents said 85 people, many of them women and children, had been killed.

Idris Dahiru, a villager, said: “I was inside the house when the first bomb was dropped. We rushed to the scene to help those affected and then a second bomb was dropped.

“My aunt, my brother’s wife and her six children, wives of my four brothers were among the dead. My elder brother’s family are all dead, except his infant child who survived. We buried 85 people that were killed in the bomb attack.”

Dahiru said more than 60 injured people were in hospital.

Another resident, Husseini Ibrahim, told reporters, “I lost 13 members of my immediate family among the 85 that were killed. They included my children and those of my brothers, seven boys and six girls. We buried the victims today.”

Many of the victims were women and children, Hassan Ma’aruf, another resident, told reporters, sharing images he said showed the bodies.

The national emergency management agency said in a statement: “The Northwest Zonal Office has received details from the local authorities that 85 dead bodies have so far been buried while search is still ongoing.”

The Nigerian presidency said: “President Tinubu describes the incident as very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful, expressing indignation and grief over the tragic loss of Nigerian lives.” He has ordered an investigation into what happened.

The Kaduna state governor, Uba Sani, said: “We are determined to prevent a repeat of this tragedy and reassure our people that their protection would be prioritised in the sustained fight against terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.”

Nigeria’s armed forces regularly carry out airstrikes on Boko Haram jihadists and militants fighting insurgencies in the north of the country. The north-west has recently overtaken the north-east as the bloodiest of several continuing conflicts in Africa’s most populous country.

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