A Nigerian village in the state of Kaduna, located north of the capital Abuja, was hit by an army drone over the weekend during the celebration of an Islamic holiday, AFP reported today. The army admitted on Monday that the strike also hit civilians, but did not say how many victims the mistake claimed. The authorities there estimate more than 85 victims, but according to Amnesty International, this number reaches up to 120, including many children.
The first official balance sheet was provided by the Kaduna State Crisis Management Office only today. “The North West Zone Department has received details from local officials that 85 bodies have been buried so far while the search is still ongoing,” the agency said.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, in response to information about dozens of dead, called for a thorough investigation of the incident, Reuters reported. The president, according to his spokesman, finds the “flawed bombing” “very unfortunate, disturbing and painful.”
The Nigerian army, backed by the United States, Britain and other allies, has been battling a jihadist insurgency in the country’s northwest for nearly 15 years, which has left tens of thousands dead. Recently, in addition, militants known simply as “bandits” have been operating in the northwest and other parts of the country, looting villages and murdering or kidnapping civilians.
In the fight against these groups, the Nigerian army often resorts to airstrikes, but sometimes they also hit the villagers themselves, the AP agency wrote. The latest incident, she said, has sparked outrage among residents and brought to mind numerous allegations of human rights abuses that have surfaced in connection with the military’s operations.