#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 18°C Friday 24 September 2021
Advertisement

A military jet has mistakenly bombed a homeless camp in Nigeria

At least 52 people have been killed and another 120 injured.

Updated 6.50pm

PastedImage-57479 Source: Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders

MORE THAN 50 people died today when an air force jet accidentally bombed a camp for those who have been internally displaced by Boko Haram terrorists in northeastern Nigeria.

The incident happened at about 8am in Rann, in the far north of Borno state, the epicentre of the jihadists’ insurgency. Aid workers were distributing food to civilians who were forced to flee the violence when the attack occurred.

A local resident, Abba Abiso, told AFP by telephone: “This morning a military jet mistakenly bombarded Rann, instead of (nearby) Kala.

PastedImage-88640 Source: MSF

“In recent weeks Boko Haram has moved base to Kala from Sambisa Forest and obviously a military jet mistook Rann for Kala and bombarded, killing many civilians.

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a statement: “At least 120 people were wounded and 52 killed following today’s bombing by the Nigerian Army in an internally displaced persons camp.”

A senior military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, said the casualties were “huge”, adding: “A fighter jet hit the wrong target.”

“This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,” says Dr Jean-Clément Cabrol, MSF director of Operations.

The safety of civilians must be respected. We are urgently calling on all parties to ensure the facilitation of medical evacuations by air or road for survivors who are in need of emergency care.

MSF said its teams were trying to provide emergency first aid at its facility in the camp and were stabilising patients to evacuate the wounded from the scene.

“Our medical and surgical teams in Cameroon and Chad are ready to treat wounded patients. We are in close contact with our teams, who are in shock following the event,” it added.

PastedImage-3177

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which also had teams in the area, said only there were “a number of people wounded and some killed”, without specifying figures.

“We are currently in contact with the relevant authorities to organise medical assistance and evacuations,” an ICRC spokeswoman in Abuja said.

‘Fog of war’

Major General Lucky Irabor, who heads the military operation against the militants, said the air force had been given coordinates of “Boko Haram terrorists” in the Kala-Balge area.

“Unfortunately the strike was conducted but it turned out that the locals somewhere in Rann were affected,” he told reporters at a briefing in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

PastedImage-27652 Source: MSF

Irabor did not give casualty figures but said local staff from MSF and the ICRC were among those wounded.

“These are the result of fog of war,” he added.

It is unfortunate. That is the reason why this war must come to an end.

The bombing comes as Nigeria’s military claims further gains against the Islamic State group affiliate, pushing them out of captured territory and their remote bases in Borno state.

Last month, the army said the conflict was in its final stages after nearly eight years of violence that has killed at least 20,000 and left more than 2.6 million others homeless.

There have been “friendly fire” incidents in the conflict.

In March 2014 a military jet killed five civilians and wounded several others when it mistakenly bombarded Kayamla village in Konduga district of Borno.

The jet mistook the village for a Boko Haram camp during a night raid.

In January that year, the convoy of a Nigerian senator was fired on by an air force jet which mistook the six-vehicle convoy under police and military escort for Boko Haram fighters.

No one was hurt and the military described the incident as an “operational blunder”.

Read: 8 things we learned from Theresa May’s Brexit speech

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (26)