Nigerian fighter jet misfire kills civilians

 18 Jan 2017 - 10:24

Nigerian fighter jet misfire kills civilians
Photo: AA.


Maiduguri, NIGERIA: Nigerian Air Force fighter jet on Tuesday mistakenly opened fire on a displaced persons’ camp in northeastern Borno state, killing a number of civilians and injuring several others including soldiers, officials have said. 

Lucky Irabor, an army major general coordinating the fight against Boko Haram in the region, said the fighter jet had targeted a gathering of militants around Kala Balge town but erroneously fired at civilians in an area called Rann. 

“So far, it is a little bit disturbing; death has occurred. There were ...deaths and injuries but on the actual number of casualties, we would get back to you later,” Irabor told a news briefing in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno state.

Humanitarian workers of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders or Medicine San Frontiers (MSF) are among the injured, a statement from MSF said. 

"At least 120 people were wounded and 52 killed following today’s bombing by the Nigerian Army in an internally displaced persons camp in Rann, Nigeria, according to Médecins Sans Frontières," says MSF Director of Operations, Dr Jean-Clément Cabrol in a statement. 

"We report with sadness that among the casualties of today's airstrikes in Rann six Nigeria Red Cross officials were killed and 13 wounded," the Red Cross also announced.

President Muhammadu Buhari said he received the news of the misfiring with "deep sadness and regret", pledging federal help for the state government in attending to "this regrettable operational mistake". He also pleaded for calm, and prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the dead. 

Governor of Borno State, where the incident occurred, said they are mobilizing medical personnel and facilities to respond to the injured.