Numerous civilians celebrating a Muslim festival were killed when an army drone accidently struck a village in northwest Nigeria, according to information released on Monday by the military, local authorities, and villagers.
In their fight against alleged bandit militias in Nigeria’s northwest and northeast, where jihadists have been waging a 14-year conflict, the country’s armed forces frequently depend on airstrikes.
Residents of Tudun Biri village in Kaduna State reported that numerous people were killed and injured in the late-Sunday attack, although the army did not release specifics or a death toll.
Authorities from the area also reported fatalities.
“Muslim faithful observing Maulud were mistakenly killed and many others injured following a military drone attack targeting terrorists and bandits,” Governor of Kaduna State Uba Sani said, directing an inquiry.
“We buried 85 people that were killed in the bomb attack,” local Idris Dahiru said, adding that his relatives also died. “I was inside the house when the first bomb was dropped… We rushed to the scene to help those affected and then a second bomb was dropped,” he added.
Following a meeting with army officials and community leaders, local state security commissioner Samuel Aruwan announced that dozens of injured people had been transported to a teaching hospital in Kaduna, the state capital. He did not provide a toll, only stating that the attack resulted in “several citizens dead and others injured”.
It was an ordinary mission against militants, the army claimed, that “inadvertently affected members of the community,” he said.
Resident Hassan Ma’aruf told AFP over the phone that many of the victims were women and children, sharing pictures he claimed showed the bodies.