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Witnesses: Drone strike kills 21 civilians in north Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A weapon fired from the air in Nigeria killed not less than 21 members of a civilian protection group as they responded to an assault by gunmen within the nation’s unstable north, witnesses stated Wednesday.

Authorities haven’t stated who was liable for the strike, which residents described as coming from a drone. It occurred in Niger state, one in every of Nigeria’s most insecure areas regardless of its shut proximity to the capital, Abuja.

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Ayuba Lagodo, a member of the civilian protection group that tries to guard villagers, stated a drone strike hit shortly after residents reported an assault below approach in Galadimakogo. Such protection teams are widespread in Nigeria’s north, the place many scorching spots of violence have an insufficient official safety presence.

At the least 21 folks have been confirmed useless after Tuesday’s strike. Lagodo stated the dying toll would doubtless rise as a result of many individuals have been critically wounded or unaccounted for.

Whereas it wasn’t clear who launched the drone, blame rapidly fell on the Nigeria Air Pressure, which has carried out comparable strikes lately.

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Federal police in Niger state advised The Related Press on Wednesday {that a} navy operation had been carried out within the state. Nevertheless, spokespeople for the Nigerian Air Pressure and Nigeria’s Protection Headquarters have but to answer media inquiries.

Two state authorities officers have began to research the incident, stated Mary Noel-Berge, chief press secretary to Niger’s governor.

Army air raids are widespread in Nigeria, the place an Islamist insurgency within the northeast and violent assaults by armed teams within the northwest and central areas have overstretched the nation’s armed forces.

In 2017, greater than 100 folks have been killed when a refugee camp was mistakenly bombed. Some Nigerian military troopers died in 2021 after a fighter jet that safety forces stated was concentrating on extremists bombed their truck.

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“‘Unintentional’ strikes are very rampant in Nigeria. One of many issues we will attribute this to is defective intel,” Confidence MacHarry, a safety analyst with the Lagos-based SBM Intelligence safety agency, stated.

A scarcity of accountability additionally performs a job, he added.

“Not a single particular person has been punished within the historical past of all these airstrikes on civilians,” MacHarry stated.

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