Nigerian Military Airstrikes Kill Fishermen In Lake Chad

Nigerian military airstrikes in three fishing communities in Lake Chad have led to a number of civilian casualties. The raid was reportedly aimed at insurgents’ positions.

A yet to be ascertained number of civilians, mostly fishermen, were part of the casualties recorded when a Nigerian military fighter jet on Sunday, April 10 bombarded three locations in Lake Chad, reportedly linked to terrorist activities, sources told HumAngle. 

Locals familiar with the incident informed HumAngle that the three fishing islands, comprising of Tumbun-Kare, Gadkari, and Tamangari – have been part of the locations under the control of the Islamic State West African Province ( ISWAP).  

Baba Zakari, an Internally Displaced fisherman, who escaped the Sunday bombardment and made it to Maiduguri, Borno State capital on Tuesday, April 12, said the terror group took control of most of the fishing islands and constituted themselves as an authority. 

“Many displaced fishermen who could not stand the years of starvation had no option but to return to the Tumbus to fish for survival even though we have to succumb to Boko Haram [ referring to the ISWAP splitter group] tax regime,” Zakari said. 

HumAngle has recently reported how fishermen were forced to flee the Lake Chad areas due to forced taxation by ISWAP.  

Zakari said most of the fishermen were caught unawares by the bombardment of the fishing islands. 

“Though it was targeted at Boko Haram, many of those killed or injured in the bombing were either fishermen or farmers,” he said. 

“We had to abandon everything and flee because it was an intense bombing. We later learnt that some injured people have been conveyed to the hospital in Monguno.”

HumAngle had learnt from senior military personnel who did not want to be named, who confirmed the attack on the named locations. 

The officer said the Sunday operation was carried out under the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) “Lake Sanity” of Operation Hadin Kai currently going on in the Lake Chad region. 

The military personnel said the air raid was carried out after credible intel about the locations was carefully evaluated to confirm that they were hideouts of ISWAP terrorists. 

“If the information available to me was correct, I know enough warnings have been issued to civilians to pull out of that location, to avoid being caught in the crossfire.” 

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist who has provided extensive coverage of the Lake Chad conflict in north-eastern Nigeria for over a decade. A graduate of English Language with a Diploma in Mass Communications. He previously worked as an assistant editor with Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper. Haruna has a strong knowledge of the Northeast and follows the trends in the region closely.

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