Dozens Dead as Nigeria Army Mistakenly Bombs Camp for Displaced

  • At least 52 people killed, 120 wounded, medical charity says
  • President Buhari says incident is regrettable, calls for calm

At least 52 people were killed and 120 injured when Nigerian army jets pursuing Islamist militants mistakenly bombed a camp for displaced people in the country’s northeast, Medecins Sans Frontieres said.

Tuesday’s bombing in Borno state killed six Nigerian Red Cross staff and volunteers, while 14 others with the group were wounded, including nine in critical condition, Andronicus Adeyemo, secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross, said by phone from the national capital, Abuja. A Nigerian military official earlier confirmed the bombing without giving the number of casualties.

“­This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,” Jean-Clement Cabrol, director of operations at MSF, said in a statement on the medical charity’s website that also gave the death toll. “­The safety of civilians must be respected.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, who has pledged to end militant group Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency, described the incident in the town of Rann in the Kala Balge district of Borno state as a “regrettable operational mistake” and appealed for calm, his office said in an e-mailed statement.

Boko Haram wants to impose its version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of more than 180 million people. Nigeria is almost evenly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

Rann is home to about 43,000 displaced people who struggle with food shortages and acute malnutrition, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

— With assistance by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

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