50 killed as Nigerian fighter jet mistakenly strikes civilian camp

Abuja, Jan 18 (IANS) A Nigerian air force jet on Tuesday mistakenly bombed a civilian camp in the northeastern state of Borno, which led to at least 50 persons being killed, media reports said.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said its staff on the ground had seen at least 100 wounded and 50 dead following the bombing, while Nigerian state officials put the death toll higher, the Guardian reported.

Commander of army operations in Borno, Lucky Irabor said the incident occurred at Rann Internally Displaced People’s camp in the state capital of Maiduguri, after an intelligence report was received that Boko Haram terrorists were regrouping there.

“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,” Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

The military has already sent a helicopter to evacuate the wounded persons, while the Borno State government has also ordered free treatment of the victims in all government hospitals.

Terror group Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2.3 million other since their insurgency started in 2009.

However, Nigeria has made a considerable gain on the Boko Haram front, with its security forces operating in the restive region dislodging the Boko Haram fighters from the Sambisa Forest, their last enclave in the country.

In a statement late Monday, the Nigerian military said it was intensifying aerial and ground patrol in the country’s northeast, extending its offensive mission around the Green Belt Region near Niger and Chad.

–IANS

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