The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC) said yesterday no fewer than 76 people were killed in Tuesday’s accidental Air Force strike on IDPs’ camp and more than 100 injured. This raised the death toll above the 52 announced by Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), after the fatal strike.
The ICRC said six Nigeria Red Cross members were killed and 13 injured. “In addition to aid staff, it is estimated that 70 people have been killed and more than a hundred wounded,” it said in a statement.
Also about 46 “severely injured” people remained in the camp yesterday the ICRC said.
“Patients are attended to in an open-air space in a precarious environment,” the aid group’s statement said, raising the possibility that the death toll could significantly rise.
The Red Cross statement said the aid group was “shocked” by the deaths of civilians and six aid workers with the Nigerian Red Cross. The group was part of a humanitarian effort to bring food to more than 25,000 displaced people, the statement said.
At least 90 patients remained in Rann, Kala/Bage Local government area in the northern part of Borno.
Human Rights Watch called on Nigeria’s government to compensate the victims of the bombing.
Even if the camp was not bombed intentionally, which would be a war crime, “the camp was bombed indiscriminately, violating international humanitarian law,” Human Rights Watch researcher Mausi Segun said in a statement.
Calling the bombing accidental doesn’t mean victims should be denied compensation, Segun said.
The United Nations expressed regrets over the accidental airstrike.
The UN also called for greater measures to protect civilians in the areas of military operations against the destructive Boko Haram insurgents, according to a statement issued by the Office of the UN Secretary-General.
“UN humanitarian officials are also questioning how a military airstrike ended up striking the displacement camp.
“Intermingled with messages of sympathy and solidarity with the victims, UN agencies called for a full investigation and greater measures to protect civilians going forward.”
The Head of the UN Refugee Agency, Filippo Grandi, who met with Nigerian refugees in Borno in Dec. 2016, called the airstrike “a truly catastrophic event.”
Grandi, therefore, “called for a full accounting so that the causes are known and measures put in place to ensure this does not happen again.”
The Nigerian Government has announced that it would investigate the airstrike, it said.
In its message, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF),stressed the importance of protecting civilians in complex humanitarian emergencies.
“UNICEF stands in solidarity with our humanitarian colleagues, and the dangerous conditions they work in.
“The aid workers who lost their lives were working to save others,” UNICEF Director for Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, said.
Amid outpouring of sympathy, UN emergency responders have continued to aid the bombed Nigerian camp, it said.
“United Nations humanitarian helicopter and emergency medical personnel are in north-eastern Nigeria following a military airstrike that hit a displacement camp killing dozens of people, including aid workers, and wounding a reported 100 others.
“The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), airlifted eight Nigerian Red Cross workers from the camp in Rann as part of the emergency responses.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), also said the response included nearly 900 lbs of emergency medical supplies.
“The Nigerian army also deployed a medical team and ‘is working with humanitarian partners to ensure maximum support to the affected people’,” OCHA reported.
It said the camp was located in Rann, which had been under the control of the group Boko Haram for the past several years, and out of reach to aid workers.
Around 43,000 people are estimated to be internally displaced and struggle with food shortages as a result of the fighting and bad roads.
Edward Kallon, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, had called the airstrike “an unfortunate tragedy that befell people already suffering.”
UN dispatches medics, airlifts aid officials injured in accidental airstrike
The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) says it has mobilised emergency response following the airstrike on an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Rann, a locality in Borno.
The UN Resident andHumanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, said this in a statement issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).
Kallon described the accidental airstrike as “an unfortunate tragedy that befell people already suffering the effects of violence”.
“The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) today dispatched a helicopter with four medical personnel and 400 kg of emergency medical supplies.
“UNHAS also airlifted eight Nigeria Red Cross workers injured following a military airstrike that hit Rann locality of Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state.
“This is an unfortunate tragedy that befell people already suffering the effects of violence,” Kallon said.
Kallon said the Army had also deployed a medical team and “is working with humanitarian partners to ensure maximum support to the affected people”.
He said Rann is one of the localities in Northeast that have recently become accessible to humanitarian organisations.