New Telegraph

80 killed as Army drone bombs Kaduna village in error

At least 80 residents of Tudun Biri in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State lost their lives following a military drone attack targeting terrorists in the area on Sunday. The Kaduna State Government yesterday said the attack was carried out by a Nigerian Army drone that mistook the villagers for terrorists.

A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were celebrating Maulud (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday) when a plane dropped bombs, resulting in the deaths and injured numbering about 50. The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed the development, said the state government is unhappy with the development and has opened a probe. He said at the end of an emergency meeting between the Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe, and security chiefs, religious and traditional leaders, “the Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack”. According to him, the operation unintentionally harmed residents as the forces were conducting a routine raid against local insurgents.

The commissioner said: “The General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, MajGen. VU Okoro, explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.” The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) had initially been accused of carrying the attack, but the Public Relations and Information Director, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, dismissed the report in a statement yesterday. Gabkwet said the NAF had not carried out any air operations within Kaduna State and its environs in the last 24 hours. He added that the NAF is not the only organisation operating combat-armed drones in the North West. “The news making the rounds alleging that Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft accidentally killed innocent civilians in Kaduna is false. “It is also important to ensure that due diligence is always exhausted by the media before going to press with unverified and unconfirmed reports,” he said.

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