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HomeWorld NewsNigerian air strike kills seven children in Niger

Nigerian air strike kills seven children in Niger

An airstrike by the Nigerian military, which was targeting ‘bandits,’ has killed seven children and wounded several others. The children’s deaths come just three months after 26 children aged five and six died in a fire at a school in Maradi city. Nigerian officials said an investigation had begun.

Governor Chaibou Aboubaca said he believed the planes were targeting armed bandits in areas around the border between the two countries but missed their target and hit Nachade, a village in the area of Madarounfa. He said that four children were killed instantly and three died on their way to the hospital. He did not say how he knew that Nigerian forces carried out the attack. Niger’s state television also said it was carried out by Nigerian forces, without providing evidence.

Major General Jimmy Akpor, Nigeria’s Director of Defence Information, said, “As a matter of policy, the Nigerian Air Force does not make any incursions into areas outside Nigeria’s territorial boundaries. That’s our policy,” He also added that a proper investigation was underway. 

Niger and Nigeria have been conducting joint military operations against armed gangs responsible for a wave of kidnappings and killings in the region. Since 2018 Niger has reinforced military patrols along its border with Nigeria to prevent incursions of the gangs. State TV said the attack happened in Nachade village. 

Several communities in the border region between Nigeria and Niger have been affected by the activities of armed gangs who are responsible for a wave of killings, kidnappings, attacks on traders, and raids on cattle. Niger presently faces two jihadist fronts, while other groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are present in the West.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which cared for some of the wounded, confirmed the strike. They stated that twelve people died, four of whom were children, as a result of, the accidental airstrike. The specific reason for the strike remains unclear. It occurred in a region where banditry prevails and where both governments fear that Islamist insurgents linked to Islamic State are growing in their power.



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