Nigerian army drone ‘mistakenly’ strikes village, killing 85 civilians

Nigerian army drone 'mistakenly' strikes village, killing 85 civilians
Nigerian army officials in Tudun Biri village, Kaduna State.

Kaduna, Nigeria | By Michael Wandati | A village in northwestern Nigeria faced tragedy as an army drone strike, intended for militants, inadvertently struck during a Muslim festival, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties. The incident occurred late Sunday in Tudun Biri village, Kaduna State.

While the army did not disclose details or the death toll, local authorities and residents reported numerous fatalities and injuries. Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani ordered an investigation, stating that Muslim faithful observing Maulud were mistakenly killed. Resident Idris Dahiru, who lost relatives in the attack, described the devastating impact, with over 60 injured individuals receiving treatment in hospitals.

The casualties in the army drone strike, totaling 85 according to Dahiru, included women and children, with many families losing multiple members. The strike prompted an immediate response, with wounded individuals taken to a teaching hospital in Kaduna. Samuel Aruwan, the local state security commissioner, confirmed the attack resulted in “several citizens dead and others injured,” but did not specify the toll.

The military asserted that it was a routine mission against militants but inadvertently affected the community. Husseini Ibrahim, another resident, disclosed losing 13 members of his immediate family among the victims. The images shared by Hassan Ma’aruf depicted the grim reality of the incident, with women and children among the deceased.

Nigerian army drone 'mistakenly' strikes village, killing 85 civilians

Militia gangs, locally known as bandits, have plagued northwest Nigeria, engaging in looting and kidnapping for ransom. While jihadists in the northeast have faced setbacks, the conflict has persisted, claiming over 40,000 lives and displacing two million people since 2009.

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has prioritized addressing insecurity since taking office in May, aiming to attract foreign investment.

The incident adds to a history of civilian casualties caused by Nigerian military bombing raids, recalling a September 2021 attack on Lake Chad where fishermen were mistakenly targeted.

The tragic event evokes memories of a January 2017 fighter jet strike on a displaced persons’ camp, resulting in 112 deaths, with the military attributing it to a “lack of appropriate marking of the area.”