Nigerian Military Airstrike Kills at Least 33 Civilians in Zamfara State

Airstrike by Nigerian military kills 33 civilians in Zamfara state, highlighting ongoing security challenges and need for more precise targeting to protect innocent lives.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nigerian Military Airstrike Kills at Least 33 Civilians in Zamfara State

Nigerian Military Airstrike Kills at Least 33 Civilians in Zamfara State

On April 10, 2024, an airstrike by the Nigerian military in Dogon Daji village, Zamfara state, killed at least 33 villagers. The military operation was targeting armed kidnapping gangs in the area, but the strike hit civilians who were preparing for Eid-el-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Eyewitnesses, including the traditional head of the village, Alhaji Garba Usman, described the incident. "The jet came and started shelling the village," said Usman. "We lost many people, especially women and children. So far, we have buried 33 people." A farmer, Haruna Musa, lost two of his children in the attack. "I lost two of my children and two of my brothers. The jet came and started firing. We all ran to hide, but before we knew it, bombs started falling on our village," Musa said.

The military denied that civilians were killed or targeted in the airstrike. Major General Musa Danmadami, a spokesperson for Nigeria's Defense Headquarters, stated that the operation was based on "credible intelligence" and targeted a camp of armed gangs involved in cattle rustling and kidnapping. However, residents and local officials insist that those killed were civilians.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the ongoing security challenges in northern Nigeria, where armed gangs have been terrorizing communities and the military's response has sometimes resulted in civilian casualties. It emphasizes the need for more precise targeting and greater efforts to protect innocent lives during military operations.

This is not the first time unintentional airstrikes by the Nigerian military have resulted in civilian casualties in the northern part of the country. Similar incidents have been reported in Kaduna and Benue states in recent years. The Nigerian government and military face criticism for their handling of the security situation and the impact on civilian populations caught in the crossfire between security forces and armed criminal groups.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigerian military airstrike in Zamfara killed at least 33 civilians on April 10, 2023.
  • Airstrike targeted armed gangs but hit civilians preparing for Eid-el-Fitr prayers.
  • Military denied civilian casualties, claiming the operation was based on "credible intelligence".
  • Incident highlights ongoing security challenges and civilian casualties in northern Nigeria.
  • Similar unintentional airstrikes by Nigerian military have occurred in Kaduna and Benue states.