In Nigeria, another errant airstrike kills Doctors Without Borders staff

Refugees survey the damage from an airstrike at an encampment in Rann, Nigeria, on Tuesday in which 52 people were killed and 120 wounded, according to aid organization Doctors Without Borders. Photo courtesy Médecins Sans Frontières

RANN, Nigeria, Jan. 17 (UPI) — An errant airstrike in northeast Nigeria has killed two soldiers and more than 50 civilians and aid workers at a refugee camp — including members of the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders, authorities said Tuesday.

The strike was conducted Tuesday by a Nigerian fighter jet Tuesday. It killed an undetermined number of people, Xinhua news agency reported. The pilot had reportedly received fallacious intelligence that Boko Haram militants were present at the camp, located in Rann.

“I coordinated and I directed that the air component of the operation should go and address the problem. Unfortunately, the strike was conducted but it turned out that other civilians were somewhere around the area and they were affected,” Lucky Irabor, commander of army operations in Borno State, said.

The camp was occupied by military personnel, refugees and members of Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said 52 people were killed and 120 others were wounded in the strike.

“This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,” Dr. Jean-Clément Cabrol, MSF Director of Operations, said in a statement. “The safety of civilians must be respected. We are urgently calling on all parties to ensure the facilitation of medical evacuations by air or road for survivors who are in need of emergency care.”

Tuesday’s deadly strike is at least the seventh to target a location with MSF personnel in the last 15 months. Six staff members were killed in a strike in Syria last April, and 14 died in Afghanistan in October 2015 when a hospital in Kunduz was mistakenly bombed by U.S. fighters.


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