Scores of people were killed when a Nigerian fighter jet mistakenly bombed a camp for the internally displaced during an operation against Boko Haram militants, according to Nigerian officials and the Red Cross.
The first bomb fell at 12:30 p.m. and landed just a few meters away from the Red Cross office. The plane circled back around, and it dropped the second bomb five minutes later. I immediately called the rest of the team on the radio, and they reassured me that luckily none of them had been injured.
Government officials could not provide an exact death toll, saying they were focused on treating the wounded. Doctors Without Borders, the medical charity, said its teams in Rann had counted 52 dead and 200 wounded as they tried to provide first aid and stabilize patients who were awaiting evacuation.
“This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,” said Jean-Clément Cabrol, the group’s director of operations. “The safety of civilians must be respected.”
Lai Mohammed, the information minister, said “the accidental bombing is not a true reflection of the level of professionalism” he had witnessed in the air force.The strike followed a military offensive against Boko Haram in the last few weeks.
The group’s insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people since 2009 and forced some two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps for internally displaced people.
Aid groups condemned the bombing. “This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,”
-said Dr. Jean-Clément Cabrol, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders.
-“The safety of civilians must be respected.”