CivilianCredit: Dailytrust

Nigerian military mistakenly bombed a religious gathering, causing civilian casualties

In Abuja, Nigeria, a military drone attack aimed at rebels inadvertently resulted in civilian casualties, according to government and military sources on Monday.

This incident, occurring during a religious celebration, represents the latest in a series of unintentional bombings affecting local residents in Nigeria’s conflict zones.

Muslims celebrating Maulud on Sunday night in Kaduna state’s Igabi council area were accidentally killed, and many others were injured by a drone intended for “targeting terrorists and bandits,” according to Governor Uba Sani.

The exact number of casualties remains unconfirmed, but traditionally, a sizable crowd gathers in the state to observe the holiday commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad.

Amnesty International’s Nigeria division reported that 120 individuals lost their lives in the assault, based on information from its staff and volunteers on-site.

Isa Sanusi, the organization’s Nigeria director, informed The Associated Press that a significant number of those casualties were children, and additional deceased individuals are still being uncovered.

Mustapha Rufai, a resident of Igabi, reported the recovery of at least 50 bodies, stating that a bomb was mistakenly dropped on them.

Nigeria’s northwest and central regions have been plagued by extremist and rebel attacks, prompting the country’s forces to frequently target armed group hideouts with aerial bombardments, sometimes affecting villagers.

The recent incident has sparked public outrage, bringing to mind widespread allegations of human rights abuses by Nigerian security forces, raising concerns from Western allies like the United States.

The head of the Nigerian army division overseeing operations in Kaduna, as quoted by the state government during a security meeting on Monday, described the drone operation as routine.

According to a statement from the Kaduna State Ministry of Internal Security, Major Valentine Okoro, the head of the army division, mentioned that the Nigerian army was engaged in a routine mission against terrorists but unintentionally impacted members of the community.

Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna Security Commissioner, stated that search-and-rescue operations are still in progress, with dozens of injured victims being evacuated to a hospital for treatment.

The Nigerian air force denied conducting any operations in Kaduna but acknowledged that it was not the sole organization utilizing combat armed drones in the region. A response to an inquiry from the Associated Press by a Nigerian army spokesperson was not immediately available.

Reports from local media indicated that villagers fled the area due to concerns about potential additional drone attacks. Activists pointed out that similar incidents in the past were not adequately investigated, leaving victims and survivors without proper compensation or justice.

Governor Sani confirmed that government officials were dispatched to the affected village on Sunday to meet with the families of the victims.

An ongoing investigation is in progress, and he emphasized the government’s determination to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy, assuring the public that their protection would be prioritized in the ongoing fight against terrorists, bandits, and other criminal elements.

Source   APnews


Nigerian military, bombed, civilian casualties

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