MAIDUGURI – RIGHTS groups are outraged at the killing of more than 100 civilians and aid workers when the Nigerian Army mistakenly bombed a refugee centre northeast of Nigeria after mistaking it for a Boko Haram terrorists’ base.
The bombing in Rann, Borno State on Tuesday reignited the furore over the army’s commitment to civilians’s safety during the eight-year operation against the militant Islamic group.
Medicins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders, which lost some workers, expressed dismayed.
“This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,” said Dr Jean-Clément Cabrol, MSF director of operations.
He said the army, which has previously denied violating the rights of civilians, had disrespected the safety of civilians.
In Rann, situated 1 000 kilometres northeast of Abuja, more than 43 000 people are refugees and struggle hunger and severe acute malnutrition.
Center for Civilians in Conflict said effective policies to protection civilians and harm mitigation might have prevented Tuesday incident.
“Government should learn from this incident to ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future,” CIVIC stated.
The United Nations expressed sympathy and solidarity with victims of the fatal military airstrike.
The UN Air Service (UNHAS) has dispatched a helicopter with four medical personnel, 400 kg of emergency medical supplies and airlifted eight Nigeria Red Cross workers injured after the bungled exercise.
“This is an unfortunate tragedy that befell people already suffering the effects of violence,” said Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria.
Yesterday (Wednesday) President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a probe into the “regrettable operational mistake.”
Major Gen Lucky Irabor, who leads army operations against Boko Haram, denied doubts over the army’s commitment to safety of civilians.
“We have at no time targeted the civilians whenever we carried out our operations and wherever they are gathered,” he maintained.
– CAJ News