At least 50 people have been killed, and a further 120 injured, after a Nigerian air force jet accidentally carried out an airstrike on a refugee camp in northeastern Nigeria.
Nigeria’s air force killed 50 people and injured 120 in an airstrike on a refugee camp in the northeast on Tuesday, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said. The military said the strike had targeted Boko Haram.
MSF said the strike occurred in Rann in Borno state, the epicentre of the jihadist group’s seven-year-old bid to create an Islamic caliphate. Regional military commander General Lucky Irabor located it at Kala Balge, a district including Rann.
A statement issued by the presidency said the air strike was a “regrettable operational mistake” that happened during the “final phase of mopping up insurgents in the northeast”.
Irabor, who said it was too early to determine the cause of the mistake, told journalists an unknown number of civilians had been killed, adding that humanitarian workers from MSF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were injured.
“MSF teams have seen 120 wounded and 50 dead following the bombing,” said Charlotte Morris, a spokeswoman for the medical charity. “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.”
A spokeswoman for ICRC said six Nigerian Red Cross members were killed and 13 were wounded.
The insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people and forced two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps because it has been too dangerous to return home.