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Air Force accidental bombing in Kaduna is one too many — HURIWA

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Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) has described the accidental bombing of Kaduna village as one too many.

NewsBand Newspaper reported on Monday that scores of villagers were killed in Tudun Biri, a community within Igabi local government area of Kaduna State following a bomb allegedly dropped by a Nigerian Air Force jet during a Maulud celebration.

The Rights group called for immediate, comprehensive and transparent investigation into the alleged bombardments and for the investigators to ascertain why there has been many of such accidental bombings of civilians.

The Rights group asked the Federal government to identify the victims and their direct families for purposes of adequate compensation.

HURIWA also tasked the Nigerian Airforce to put measures in place to avoid such a very unfortunate operational error, if it is what it is, so that civilian lives are protected always.

The rights group said although details of the latest unfortunate incident remain sketchy at the time the information got to the Nigerian public via the media but it described as unacceptably unprecedented and shocking, the preliminary reports by the media that shows that about 30 people died during the incident on Sunday, around 9:00 pm.

HURIWA recalled the media as quoting a resident of the community that the bomb struck while the villagers converged to celebrate Maulud in the village, thus, “They were celebrating Maulud when the jet dropped the bomb, resulting in the immediate death of more than 30 people.”

HURIWA said it is lamentable from available information that there is strong indication that the death toll may increase following the fatal impact of the explosion.

HURIWA also recalled that around January 2017, a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed a refugee camp, killing more than 100 refugees and wounding aid workers, a Borno state official said. A Red Cross worker said 20 volunteers with the aid group had been killed.

The state government official, who was helping to coordinate the evacuation of wounded from the remote area by helicopters, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Military commander Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor as he then was before he was promoted as chief of defence staff, had confirmed the accidental bombardment in northeast Rann, near the border with Cameroon. This is believed to be the first time Nigeria’s military has admitted to making such a mistake.

The civil society group HURIWA recalled that the 2017 accidental bombing of villagers was highly fatal so much so that an ICRC employee told the AP that 20 Red Cross volunteers were among the dead. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to give information to reporters.

HURIWA speaking further said that during the year 2017 incident, a global medical mission: Doctors Without Borders said its team based in Rann had counted 50 bodies and treated 120 wounded. A statement from spokesman Etienne l’Hermitte urged authorities to facilitate land and air evacuations, saying, “Our medical and surgical teams in Cameroon and Chad are ready to treat wounded patients. We are in close contact with our teams, who are in shock following the event.”

HURIWA therefore challenged the current government to carry out an all out investigation with a view to finding lasting solutions to these many accidental bombings of civilians.

 

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