A few hours after the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) exonerated itself from an airstrike that killed dozens of villagers in the Tudun Biri area of Kaduna state in the northwestern part of the country, the Nigerian Army has claimed responsibility for the aerial offensive.
In a statement made on Nov. 4, the Commissioner at the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs of the state, Samuel Aruwan, said the General Officer Commanding (GOC) One Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Valentine Okoro, has offered an explanation over the attack.
Aruwan quoted Okoro as saying men of the Nigerian military were on “a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected” residents of the village.
According to Aruwan, the GOC made the announcement in a closed-door meeting headed by the deputy governor of the state, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe.
While denying knowledge of the attack, the spokesperson of the NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the NAF “have not carried out any air operations within Kaduna State and environs in the last 24 hours.”
He further noted that NAF is not the only organisation that operates combat-armed aircraft in the northwestern region.
Gabkwet did not say which other organisations operate armed drones.
HumAngle earlier reported how dozens of people were killed in an airstrike in Tudun Biri in Kaduna, on Sunday night while observing Maulud, an Islamic occasion.
Eyewitnesses said when the first bomb went off, numerous people died from it. However, as soon as they found out, more locals came to help them. One more bomb exploded, which forced the residents to leave the search and rescue operation and funeral of the dead until Monday morning.
However, the global rights group Amnesty International has condemned the attack, noting that the total number of those killed or who sustained injuries was over 120.
“Such reckless use of deadly force is unlawful and lays bare the Nigerian military’s shocking disregard for the lives of those it supposedly exists to protect,” the human rights group said in a statement.
This is the second airstrike from authorities that have inadvertently killed civilians in the country this year alone.
It claimed responsibility months after, following pressure from several human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch.
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