Nigerian Warplanes Attack Refugee Camp, Killing Over 100 Civilians

Over 20 Red Cross Workers Also Slain

by Jason Ditz, January 17, 2017

Medical workers are scrambling in the Borno Province today after the Nigerian Air Force attacked a major refugee camp, killing more than 100 refugees along with over 20 Red Cross volunteers near the border of Cameroon. The camp was for people displaced by fighting with Boko Haram.

Nigerian officials confirmed the attack, saying that they “sympathize with the families” of the massive number of killed and wounded. They insisted it was too early to say that bombing the camp full of civilians was a “tactical error” or not, however.

Apparently the Nigerian military had been given intelligence from some unnamed source claiming insurgents were “gathering” at the location, which was in the middle of a camp full of refugees. Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor insisted Nigeria “would not attack civilians” despite having just attacked a lot of civilians.

Civilian casualties are common both in Boko Haram attacks on villages and in government crackdowns in the area, and airstrikes around the border usually are followed with reports of at least some civilian deaths. This is an unusually large and well-documented case,however, and with the Red Cross present at the time the Nigerian government will have a harder time sweeping this one under the rug.

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