At least 85 civilians killed in Nigerian army drone attack, raising questions about mistakes
December 7, 2023 | by b1og.net
In a tragic incident that has raised questions about the Nigerian army’s mistakes, at least 85 civilians were killed when a military drone mistakenly targeted a religious gathering in northwest Nigeria. The strike occurred during a Muslim holiday, and the military believed they were targeting terrorists and bandits. However, the attack resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, including children, women, and the elderly. This incident adds to the growing concern about the occurrence of miscalculated airstrikes in the country, with over 400 civilians already killed by such airstrikes since 2017. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident, but there are concerns about the lack of accountability and transparency in these investigations. This unfortunate event highlights the need for greater caution and coordination within Nigerian security agencies to prevent the loss of innocent lives in conflict zones.
Overview of the drone attack
In a tragic incident, at least 85 civilians were killed when a military drone mistakenly targeted a religious gathering in northwest Nigeria. The strike occurred on Sunday night in Tudun Biri village in Kaduna state. According to government officials, the military believed they were targeting terrorists and bandits. However, it was soon discovered that innocent civilians had been hit by the drone attack.
Number of casualties
The drone attack resulted in the deaths of 85 civilians, including women, children, and the elderly. In addition to the fatalities, 66 people were injured in the attack. The National Emergency Management Agency confirmed these numbers and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.
Apology from Nigeria’s army chief
Upon learning of the mistake, Nigeria’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, visited Tudun Biri village to apologize for the drone strike. Lagbaja admitted that the attack was conducted based on the observation of tactics usually employed by bandits. He expressed his regret that innocent civilians had been targeted and assured the community that a thorough investigation would be conducted.
Worrisome trend of miscalculated airstrikes
The drone attack in Tudun Biri village highlights a worrisome trend of miscalculated airstrikes in Nigeria. According to SBM Intelligence security firm, since 2017, approximately 400 civilians have been killed by airstrikes that were intended to target armed groups. This trend raises concerns about the accuracy and efficacy of Nigeria’s military operations.
Previous incidents of civilian casualties in air raids
Unfortunately, this is not the first incident in which civilian casualties have occurred as a result of air raids in Nigeria. In January of this year, dozens of people were killed in Nasarawa state, and in December 2022, another air raid resulted in the deaths of dozens of individuals in Zamfara state. These incidents highlight the need for improved coordination and careful planning to minimize civilian harm during military operations.
Concerns about lack of collaboration among Nigerian security agencies
Analysts have raised concerns about the lack of collaboration among Nigerian security agencies. The use of airstrikes to combat extremist violence and rebel attacks is often necessary, but it must be done with precision and consideration to avoid civilian casualties. The lack of coordination among security agencies can lead to unintended consequences and tragic outcomes, as evidenced by the drone attack in Tudun Biri village.
Proliferation of drones within Nigerian security agencies
Another issue that has been brought to light by this incident is the proliferation of drones within Nigerian security agencies. The availability of drones without clear guidelines on their use can lead to hasty decisions and mistakes. It is important for security agencies to establish a guiding framework for the use of drones to ensure their proper and responsible deployment.
The Drone Attack in Tudun Biri Village
Details of the drone attack
The drone attack took place on Sunday night during a religious gathering in Tudun Biri village. It was carried out by the Nigerian military in an attempt to target terrorists and bandits operating in the region. However, the strike mistakenly hit innocent civilians who were observing the Muslim holiday marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
Targeting terrorists and bandits
The military believed that the religious gathering was being used as a cover by terrorists and bandits. It is not uncommon for these groups to embed themselves within civilian population centers, making it difficult to distinguish between them and innocent civilians. While the military’s intention was to protect the community from these armed groups, the drone attack resulted in tragic consequences.
Injuries sustained in the attack
In addition to the 85 civilians who lost their lives in the drone attack, 66 people were injured. These individuals are now receiving medical treatment for their wounds. The injuries sustained in the attack range from minor to severe, and the victims are being provided with the necessary support and care.
Burial of the victims
Following the drone attack, the bodies of the victims, including women, children, and the elderly, were buried in Tudun Biri village. The community mourned the loss of their loved ones and came together to support one another during this difficult time. Funerals were held to honor the lives lost and to provide closure for the families affected by the tragedy.
Ongoing search for additional victims
As part of the response to the drone attack, a search is currently underway to identify any additional victims. The National Emergency Management Agency, along with other relevant authorities, is conducting thorough investigations to ensure that all victims are accounted for. The search and rescue efforts are ongoing, and every effort is being made to provide closure to the affected families.
Response and Investigation
Order for a thorough investigation
President Bola Tinubu has ordered a thorough and full-fledged investigation into the drone attack in Tudun Biri village. The President recognizes the gravity of the situation and the need to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. The investigation aims to uncover the circumstances that led to the mistaken drone strike and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Secrecy surrounding investigations
Concerns have been raised about the secrecy surrounding investigations into military mistakes and civilian casualties. In the past, the outcomes of investigations have not been transparent, and little information has been provided to the public. It is crucial for the investigations surrounding the drone attack in Tudun Biri village to be conducted with transparency and for the findings to be shared openly.
Lack of punishment for erring officers or agencies
A major problem that needs to be addressed is the lack of punishment for erring officers or agencies involved in incidents like the drone attack. Without consequences for their actions, there is little accountability, and civilians are the ones who suffer the most. Amnesty International’s director in Nigeria has highlighted this issue, stating that the lack of due diligence and accountability puts innocent civilians at risk.
The Problem of Civilian Casualties
Extent of civilian casualties in Nigerian conflict zones
The drone attack in Tudun Biri village is unfortunately not an isolated incident. Civilian casualties have been a recurrent problem in Nigerian conflict zones. Since 2017, approximately 400 civilians have lost their lives in airstrikes that were intended to target armed groups. This alarming number underscores the need for better planning and execution of military operations to minimize harm to innocent civilians.
Lack of due diligence in special operations
One of the key issues contributing to civilian casualties is the lack of due diligence in special operations. It is crucial for security agencies to conduct thorough assessments and gather accurate intelligence before carrying out airstrikes or other military actions. Without proper planning and preparation, there is a higher risk of mistakenly targeting innocent civilians and causing unnecessary harm.
Problems with accountability and consequences
A significant challenge in addressing civilian casualties is the lack of accountability and consequences for those responsible. The Nigerian military must prioritize the protection of civilians and take immediate action to prevent further harm. This includes holding officers and agencies accountable for their actions, conducting transparent investigations, and implementing measures to prevent future mistakes.
In conclusion, the drone attack in Tudun Biri village highlights the urgent need for improved coordination, better planning, and increased accountability within Nigerian security agencies. The high number of civilian casualties is a cause for concern and demands immediate action. It is crucial for the Nigerian government and military to take responsibility, conduct thorough investigations, and ensure that those responsible for mistakes are held accountable. Only then can measures be put in place to prevent such tragic incidents from occurring in the future and safeguard the lives of innocent civilians.