Dozens of civilians killed, Red Cross officials wounded in accidental airstrike at IDP camp

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By Mustapha Buhari, Maiduguri

Dozens of civilians have been feared killed during an accidental airstrike by military troops on Internally Displaced Persons camp in eastern part of the state.

Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Lucky Irabor, while confirming the incident told journalists in Maiduguri that the military conducted airstrike on a location where Boko Haram were reported to have gathered.

The incident occurred Tuesday morning.

“We got information that Boko Haram terrorists were gathering somewhere in Kala Balge Local Government. We coordinate our air component and strike the location but somehow, some civilians were killed,” he said.Gen Irabor disclosed that some civilians and two humanitarian workers from the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) and Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) were wounded in the incident which he described as disturbing. “Two of our soldiers were also wounded,” he added.

He said the military has already sent helicopter to evacuate the wounded persons. He could not comment on whether or not the incident was a tactical error by the military. He said it was rather the cost of war, urging the people to work together to ensure peace return to the troubled northeast States. He said the military will investigate the cause of the problem.

“It is too early for us to determine whether it was an error or not. We have at no time targeted the civilians whenever we carried out our operations and wherever they are gathered,” he maintained.

He said the military was yet to ascertain the number of persons killed in the airstrike, adding that the death of innocent person in the course of operation was rather disturbing to the military authority and the institution.

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