85 worshippers killed by mistake in Nigeria
ABUJA. – A Nigerian army drone strike accidentally killed at least 85 civilians on Sunday in a village in northwest Kaduna State, officials said, in one of the country’s deadliest military bombing mishaps.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday ordered an investigation after the army acknowledged one of its drones aimed at armed groups had accidentally struck the Tudun Biri village as residents were celebrating a Muslim festival.
The army did not give any casualty figures, but local residents had said 85 people, many of them women and children, had been killed.
“The Northwest Zonal Office has received details from the local authorities that 85 dead bodies have so far been buried while search is still ongoing,” the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
NEMA said another 66 people were being treated at hospital, but emergency officials were still negotiating with community leaders to calm tensions to be able reach the village.
“President Tinubu describes the incident as very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful, expressing indignation and grief over the tragic loss of Nigerian lives,” the presidency said in a statement.
The army had said its drone was a routine mission that “inadvertently affected members of the community”.
Many of the victims were women, children and elderly who had been celebrating the Muslim festival of Maulud.
“I was inside the house when the first bomb was dropped… We rushed to the scene to help those affected and then a second bomb was dropped,” local resident Idris Dahiru said. – AFP