Military targetting mistake kills at least 85 civilians

KADUNA, NG – A devastating drone strike, mistakenly launched by the military, has claimed the lives of 85 individuals in the northwest region of Nigeria, according to emergency response officials. The incident happened on Sunday in the village of Tudun Biri, Kaduna state, during a religious observance.

The drone, which was intended to target terrorists and bandits, struck a gathering of people who were celebrating a Muslim holiday. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of Nigeria confirmed that the deceased included children, women, and the elderly. In addition to the fatalities, at least 66 individuals were injured in the attack.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has called for a comprehensive investigation into the incident. The country’s military frequently carries out air raids in an effort to combat extremist violence and rebel groups, often resulting in civilian casualties.

The northern region of Nigeria has been plagued by conflicts between the military and rebel groups for over a decade, with civilians often caught in the crossfire. The main opposition presidential candidate in this year’s election and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed concern over the increasing number of civilian casualties from misdirected airstrikes.

The spokesperson for Nigeria’s Defense Headquarters, Maj. Gen. Edward Buba, acknowledged the challenge of distinguishing between civilians and terrorists, as the latter often embed themselves within civilian populations. This incident follows a similar attack in January that resulted in the death of 39 civilians in Nasarawa state. In December 2022, dozens were also killed in Zamfara state.

SBM Intelligence, a security firm based in Lagos, reports that since 2017, approximately 400 civilians have been killed in airstrikes that were intended to target armed groups.