Nigeria’s chief of army staff visits scene of deadly drone strike

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff visited Tuesday (Dec. 05) Tudun Biri village where an army drone strike accidentally killed at least 85 civilians on Sunday (Dec. 03).

“The military said troops were carrying out aerial patrols when they observed a group of people and wrongly analysed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that bandits, before the drone strike.

Residents actually celebrated a Muslim festival.

“Having assessed the situation on the ground myself to be able to determine the kind of inquiry that will be conducted by the Nigerian army to forestall re-occurrence of this kind of unfortunate incident going forward,” Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja said.

 And also to look around these communities, and even when extending beyond, to be able to determine the kind of operations we need to conduct going forward.”

The incident has plunged residents of Kaduna State’s Igabi district into mourning.

“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,” resident Idris Dahiru told AFP.

“My aunt, my brother’s wife and her six children, wives of my four brothers were among the dead. My elder brother’s family are all dead, except his infant child who survived.”

Medical bills

 The National Emergency Management Agency said 66 people were being treated at hospital.

General Taoreed Lagbaja said the army would pay the medical bills of the wounded.

“The Nigerian army is a responsible organ of government and organisation and is willing to support our law-abiding citizens, more so that the unfortunate incident that happened on Sunday (Dec. 03), occurred as a result of an error on the part of Nigerian army personnel. So we are ready to take responsibility for the medical abuse of those ones in the hospital and also provide support to the entire community so that they can live their lives more worthwhile.”

Nigeria’s army chief met with local community leaders to apologise.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ordered an investigation Tuesday (Dec. 05).

The UN human rights office urged the army Wednesdy (Dec. 06) to review rules of engagement and standard operating procedures

after the army acknowledged one of its drones mistakenly struck the village of Tudun Biri as residents celebrated a Muslim festival.

Nigeria’s army often relies on air strikes in its fight against armed groups in the northwest and northeast of the country. Jihadists have also been fighting for more than a decade.

Militia gangs, known locally as bandits, terrorize residents committing crimes and kidnaping.