Accidental Air Force Attack Kills 100 in Nigeria Refugee Camp

Jet was on a mission against Boko Haram, bombs refugee camp instead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 17, 2017 1:31 PM CST
Accidental Air Force Attack Kills Dozens in Nigeria Refugee Camp
In this Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, file photo, Cameroon soldiers stand guard at a lookout post as they take part in operations against the Islamic extremists group Boko Haram, their guard post is on Elbeid bridge, left rear, that separates northern Cameroon form Nigeria's Borno state near the village...   (AP Photo/Edwin Kindzeka Moki, File)

A Nigerian air force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed a refugee camp on Tuesday, killing more than 100 refugees and aid workers, a Borno state official said. The state government official, who was helping to coordinate the evacuation of wounded from the remote area by helicopters, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Military commander Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor confirmed the accidental bombardment in northeast Rann, near the border with Cameroon, saying "some" civilians were killed. It was believed to be the first time Nigeria's military has admitted to making such a mistake. The BBC says at least 50 were killed and more than 100 injured, citing international aid agency MSF.

The International Committee for the Red Cross said six staff members and volunteers with the Nigerian Red Cross were among the dead and 13 were wounded. Two soldiers were also wounded as well as Nigerians working for Doctors Without Borders, Irabor said, without giving a precise figure. Doctors Without Borders said its team based in Rann had counted 50 bodies and treated 120 wounded. A statement from spokesperson Etienne l'Hermitte in Geneva urged authorities to facilitate cross-border land and air evacuations. Irabor said he ordered the mission based on information that Boko Haram insurgents were gathering in the area, along with geographic coordinates. It was too early to say if a tactical error was made, he said. (More Nigeria stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.