The Army said a fighter jet had misfired and shot some humanitarian aid workers of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), the Medicines Sans Frontiers and some civilians in Kala Balge in Borno during an operation.
Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed this during a press briefing on Tuesday in Maiduguri. “This morning, we received a report about the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists around Kala Balge area of Maiduguri. “I coordinated and I directed that the air component of the operation should go and address the problem. “Unfortunately, the strike was conducted but it turned out that other civilians were somewhere around the area and they were affected. “So far, it is a little bit disturbing; death has occurred.
There are casualties; there were deaths and injuries but on the actual number of casualties, we would get back to you later. “I am yet to get the number of casualties of civilians killed, but two soldiers were also affected. “Some humanitarian staff of Medicines Sans Frontiers and some staff of International Committee of Red Cross(ICRC) were also affected. “We are sending helicopters to evacuate those that were critically wounded, including our wounded soldiers,” Irabor said.
At least 52 aid workers and civilians were killed on Tuesday when an air force jet accidentally bombed a camp in northeast Nigeria instead of Boko Haram militants, medical charity MSF said. The incident happened at about 9:00 am (0800 GMT) in Rann, in the far north of Borno state, the epicentre of the jihadists’ insurgency, as food was being distributed to displaced people. This handout image received courtesy of Doctors Without Border (MSF) on January 17, 2017, shows wounded people lying on the ground after an air force jet accidentally bombarded a camp for those displaced by Boko Haram Islamists, in Rann, northeast Nigeria.
There was no official death toll from the military, which blamed “the fog of war” for the mistake, but one senior commander described the casualties from the air strike as “huge”. One local resident, Abba Abiso, said “At least 25 were killed and many more injured.” The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said “at least 120 people were wounded and 52 killed following today’s bombing”, calling the attack “shocking and unacceptable.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said six Nigerian Red Cross members were among those killed while 13 others were injured. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement he “received with regret” news of the bombing and said he sympathised with the families of the dead and injured.
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. 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.