Aminu Abubakar and Mark Morgenstein of CNN are reporting that the fight against militant Islamists in Nigeria led to dozens of deaths, mostly of civilians, in three villages this weekend. The duo report:
“A military plane trying to bomb camps of the Boko Haram extremist group in the Sambisa Forest on Friday night “mistook the village (Daglun) for a Boko Haram camp,” said Ali Ndume, a senator representing the region. The inaccurate air raid was part of ‘an ongoing offensive’ against the insurgents, Ndume said.
Ndume said the four bombs dropped by the government aircraft killed five people and wounded several others. But Daglun residents, some of whom were forced to flee into the bush from burning homes, said the bombardment caused many more casualties.
‘The village was asleep when I heard an aircraft hovering, and within a short interval, aerial bombardment started,’ a villager said, adding he was one of 25 wounded. ‘The bombs torched homes and killed 20 people, most of them elderly people who could not run fast enough to escape the bombing.’ The villager refused to give his name, fearing retaliation.
A nurse at Mubi General Hospital, 45 kilometers (30 miles) away, confirmed that 25 people were admitted with ‘mostly severe burns and ruptured tissues.’
CNN was unable to confirm the number of causalities.
The Nigerian military denies having mistakenly harmed civilians. Less than 24 hours after this event, violence in northeastern Nigeria, blamed on Boko Haram, left more than three dozen people dead and may have taken many more lives. Reportedly, dozens in the Village of Mainok who were in the midst of prayers, were stormed by men on motorcycles wearing military uniforms in a battle with Boko Haram. Thirty-nine people were killed in that attack, in which worshippers were fired on “indiscriminately” with AK-47 rifles. Nigerian police confirm that they were in a battle with members of Boko Haram in Mainok when the violence broke out, but will not confirm the number of deaths.
These events followed two bomb blasts in Maiduguri on Saturday, in which dozens were also killed. Those blasts were also attributed to members of Boko Haram, Islamist extremists who want to impose Sharia law in the nation. The number of casualties from those attacks have not been confirmed but has been reported by multiple outlets as 51 and counting.
Read more at CNN.