During an operation aimed at clearing the area of Boko Haram insurgents, a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet mistakenly bombed a refugee camp in Borno State on Tuesday, killing no fewer than 100 civilians.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that a Borno State official confirmed that over 100 refugees and humanitarian aid workers were killed. According to an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) worker, 20 ICRC aid workers died.
Members of Medicines Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) were also killed, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). An MSF official disclosed to AP that 50 of its workers died while at least 120 were wounded.
“So far, it is a little bit disturbing; death has occurred. There are casualties; there were deaths and injuries," said Major General Leo Irabor, Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, confirming the incident to reporters in Maiduguri.
“This morning, we received a report about the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists around Kala Balge area of Maiduguri. I coordinated and I directed that the air component of the operation should go and address the problem.
“Unfortunately, the strike was conducted but it turned out that other civilians were somewhere around the area and they were affected," Mr. Irabor explained.
He added that two soldiers died in the misfire and several others were wounded.
“We are sending helicopters to evacuate those that were critically wounded, including our wounded soldiers,” Mr. Irabor said.
President Muhammadu Buhari offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.
"I received with regret news that the Air Force, working to mop up [Boko Haram] insurgents, accidentally bombed a civilian community in Rann, Borno State," Mr. Buhari said on his Twitter.
"I sympathize with the families of the dead, and with the injured, and the government and people of Borno State."