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A military drone strike in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state reportedly resulted in civilian casualties, according to statements from the state governor, a religious leader, and witnesses on Monday.
The incident occurred on Sunday night during a military operation targeting insurgents and bandits. Kaduna governor Uba Sani said, “Muslims taking part in Maulud celebrations in Tudun Biri village were mistakenly killed and many others injured following a military drone attack targeting terrorists and bandits.”
The exact number of casualties is uncertain, with a religious leader estimating 50 deaths and two witnesses claiming around 80 were killed. Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna’s internal affairs commissioner, conveyed the details of a security meeting that reviewed the incident, stating, “The Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.” The Army spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment, and the Air Force declared non-involvement in the operation.
Sheikh Rabiu Abdullahi, a religious leader who attended the meeting, told reporters, “Over 50 innocent people who gathered for the Maulud (celebration) lost their lives in the bombing.” Survivor Danjuma Salisu, receiving treatment for injuries, recounted the harrowing experience, “We couldn’t even run. It was a loud bang that left over 80 people dead and many of us injured.”
Another villager, Abubakar Inua, confirmed to Reuters over the phone, “We have counted over 80 corpses who were buried.” This tragic event highlights the ongoing challenges in Nigeria’s fight against armed criminal gangs and insurgents, particularly in areas beyond the northeastern war zone.