Survivors of the accidental bombing of Tudun Biri in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Tuesday said they were bombed twice by the Nigerian Army.
It was also gathered that the death toll from the incident had increased to 120 as officials of Amnesty International who visited the affected communities confirmed the increase in the death toll.
An air strike intended to flush out terrorists had on Sunday night accidentally hit civilians during Mawlid celebration at Tudun Biri.
While the Army claimed responsibility for the incident, the National Emergency Management Agency had on Monday night put the casualty figure at 85, adding that 66 victims sustained injuries.
Giving an update on the tragic incident, The Country Director of Amnesty International, Isah Sanusi, said officials of the organisation were on the ground at the affected communities and counted over 120 persons who died in the bombing.
He said, “I can confirm to you that the current number of casualties in the affected areas is more than 120 persons.”
He explained that there were at least 77 bodies buried in each of the mass graves, insisting that the casualty figure was higher than what NEMA stated.
“According to our contact who was at the scene of the mass burial, there were at least 77 dead bodies in each of the mass graves. There also 17 other persons who are from adjoining villages who lost their lives in the ugly incident,” he stated.
But the NEMA Chief Information Officer, Kaduna State, Halima Suleman, told one of our correspondents that the casualty figure of 85 persons released on Monday by the agency had not been updated when contacted on Tuesday.
She, however, stated that NEMA was intervening in the affected communities, as it took some of the injured persons to hospitals and was providing relief items to others.
“We are, of course, intervening in the communities, because our officials are on the ground there today. They took some persons to hospitals, provided relief items and gave moral support,” she stated.
Mass burial for victims
The victims of the Sunday accidental bombing were given mass burial, just as the search-and-rescue mission continued in the village.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja, who visited the community on Tuesday sympathized with the bereaved families.
The PUNCH reports that the Kaduna State Government said the Nigerian Army claimed responsibility for dropping the bomb on Tudun Biri in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State which left no fewer than 85 villagers dead on Sunday.
The COAS, accompanied by Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, met with the Dangaladima Zazau, the District Head of Rigasa, Aminu Idris, other leaders and members of the community.
The COAS, in an emotion-laden speech, expressed regrets, describing the incident as a very disheartening occurrence.
Speaking further, Lagbaja noted that in the recent past, the general area of Tudun Biri and adjoining villages were infested with bandits, who terrorised the communities, until troops of the Nigerian Army started conducting operations to sanitise the area and make it habitable.
He pointed out, that the troops were carrying out aerial patrols when they observed a group of people and wrongly analysed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits, before the drone strike.
The COAS stated that he was in Tudun Biri to personally witness the site of the mishap and to convey sincere regrets and unreserved apologies on behalf of the Nigerian Army to the District Head and people of the community, as well as the Government and entire people of Kaduna State.
He disclosed that he has ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident to ascertain and identify areas of deficiency that led to the inadvertent disaster, adding that the findings and overarching outcome of the investigation will guide the NA in meticulously and professionally seeking and applying lasting solutions to identified lapses and deficiencies in both the human and Artificial Intelligence variables that will forestall future recurrence.
Lagbaja donated N10m to the survivors of the bomb attack at the Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital.
Source: The Punch
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