Nigerian Air Force Mistakenly Bombs Refugee Camp, Killing At Least 50

Air strike: Smoke rises from a burnt out shelter at a camp for displaced people in Rann Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) via AP

Nigeria’s air force killed at least 50 people, including Red Cross volunteers, in a mistaken air strike on a refugee camp.

The military said the strike, which injured a further 120, had targeted Boko Haram.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)said the strike occurred in Rann in Borno state, the epicentre of the jihadist group’s seven-year-old bid to create an Islamic caliphate.

Regional military commander General Lucky Irabor, who said it was too early to determine the cause of the mistake, said an unknown number of civilians had been killed.

“MSF teams have seen 120 wounded and 50 dead following the bombing,” said Charlotte Morris, a spokeswoman for the medical charity.

“Our medical and surgical teams in Cameroon and Chad are ready to treat wounded patients. We are in close contact with our teams, who are in shock following the event.”

A spokeswoman for International Committee of the Red Cross said six Nigerian Red Cross members were killed and 13 were wounded.

The insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people and forced two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps because it has been too dangerous to return home.

President Muhammadu Buhari said last month a key camp in the jihadist group’s Sambisa forest base in Borno state had fallen.

A statement issued by the presidency said the air strike was a “regrettable operational mistake” that happened during the “final phase of mopping up insurgents in the northeast”.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in the last few weeks as the end of the rainy season has enabled its fighters to move more easily in the bush.