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Nigeria Airstrike Kills Dozens “Mistakenly”

People at the scene of the bombarded camp in Rann, Nigeria, on Jan. 17.People at the scene of the bombarded camp in Rann, Nigeria, on Jan. 17.

Nigeria’s military says a fighter jet has mistakenly bombed a refugee camp in the country’s northeast, killing dozens of people and wounding scores more, according to aid workers.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at about 9 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) in Rann, in the far north of Borno state, the epicenter of Boko Haram’s armed campaign, as humanitarian workers distributed food to civilians, Aljazeera reported.

Nigeria’s Air Force said a fighter jet was on a mission against Boko Haram fighters when it accidentally struck the camp and killed an unknown number of refugees and aid workers.

But in a statement, aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the strike had killed at least 50 people and wounded 120.

MSF and the International Committee of the Red Cross were operating at the camp when it was hit.

The ICRC said via Twitter that six of the dead and 12 of the wounded were working for the Nigeria Red Cross.

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

  Probe launched

Nigerian military commander, Lucky Irabor, said the accidental bombardment killed “some” civilians and wounded aid workers, including some Nigerians working for MSF and ICRC.

He said two soldiers were wounded, but he did not have a final toll.

Irabor said he ordered the mission going on geographic coordinates for an alleged gathering of Boko Haram fighters.

“It was too early to say if a tactical error was made,” he said.

The general, who is the theater commander for anti-Boko Haram operations in northeast Nigeria, said the air force would not deliberately target civilians, but there will be an investigation.

“Senior military officials say an investigation will be launched to find out exactly what happened; if there was any mistake on the part of the pilot or those conducting the operation,” Aljazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, said.

France-based MSF said its workers were trying to provide emergency first aid at its facility in the camp and were stabilizing patients to evacuate the wounded from the scene.

 

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