Nigerian military drone attack kills over 85 civilians, President Bola Tinubu orders probe

Nigerian military drone attack kills over 85 civilians, President Bola Tinubu orders probe

Nigerian President has ordered a comprehensive investigation into a military drone attack over the weekend that claimed the lives of at least 85 people, including women and children, in the northern Kaduna region.

The tragedy unfolded during an annual Maulud Muslim celebration, turning the joyous occasion into a scene of devastation.

Nigerian army chief Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja visited Tundun Biri village, the site of the air strike, to extend his apologies for the tragic incident.

At a Kaduna hospital, where the injured were undergoing treatment, he assured the victims and their families that the military would cover their medical expenses.

The drone strike has sparked outrage and has brought attention to a distressing pattern of deadly aerial assaults by the Nigerian military.

The Kaduna region, located 163 km (101 miles) from the capital Abuja, has been grappling with rising insecurity, marked by kidnappings and killings carried out by armed gangs.

In response, security forces have resorted to aerial strikes, often resulting in civilian casualties.

The incident over the weekend, now under investigation, is the latest in a series of attacks that have drawn international concern.

The National Emergency Management Agency officially reported 85 deaths and 66 injuries from the drone strike, but witnesses on the ground claim a higher toll.

President Tinubu, currently attending the Cop28 Climate Summit in Dubai, labelled the incident a “bombing mishap” and expressed deep sorrow over the “unfortunate, disturbing, and painful” events, according to his spokesman Ajuri Ngelale.

“The President directs a thorough and full-fledged investigation into the incident and calls for calm while the authorities look diligently into the mishap,” Ngelale stated.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu disclosed that troops, engaged in aerial patrols, mistakenly identified a group of people, “wrongly analysed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits” before launching the drone strike.

Lagbaja has initiated an internal investigation, pledging to address any identified lapses in human and .

Witnesses recounted scenes of grief and shock as the initial blast during the Maulud celebration prompted villagers to scatter for safety.

Tragically, a second explosion occurred about 30 minutes later, causing more casualties.

Villagers, shaken by the incident, expressed a desperate quest for answers as they grapple with the aftermath of the devastating drone attack.

Survivors described the gruesome aftermath, with body parts, particularly of children, scattered across rooftops and tree branches.

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