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Kaduna bombing: Death toll of villagers hits 80

The dead toll from the Army’s bombing of residents at Tudun Biri Village in Kaduna’s Igabi Local Government Area has grown to 80.

Governor Uba Sani has ordered a probe into the incident, which occurred on Sunday night while Muslims were celebrating Maulud Nabbiy and injured more than 50 people.

Residents informed reporters on Monday that a Nigerian Air Force fighter plane dropped bombs on their neighborhood, but the Air Force denied any involvement in the incident.

NAF, in a statement by its spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said: “The news making the rounds alleging that Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft accidentally killed innocent civilians in Kaduna is false. Please be informed that the NAF has not carried out any air operations within Kaduna State and environs in the last 24 hours. Also, note that the NAF is not the only organization operating combat armed drones in the North western region of Nigeria.

“It is also important to ensure that due diligence is always exhausted by the media before going to press with unverified and unconfirmed reports.”

Commissioner Overseeing the Ministry of Internal Security and Hone Affairs,Samuel Aruwan subsequently announced the Army was responsible for the accidental bomb attack in its routine campaign against terrorists in the area.

Aruwan, in a statement, after from the state security council meeting said the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Valentine Okoro explained the circumstances that led to the unfortunate attack.

He said: “The Kaduna State Government has received briefings on Sunday night’s attack which left several citizens dead and others injured.

“In a meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, which had in attendance heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders, the Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack.

“The General Officer Commanding One Division Nigerian Army, Major General VU Okoro explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.

“The Deputy Governor at the end of the closed door meeting, conveyed the condolences of the Government and People of Kaduna State to the families that lost their loved ones, and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls.

“As of the time of this update, search-and-rescue efforts are still ongoing, as dozens of injured victims have been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the Government.

“Heads of security agencies who attended the meeting include the Commissioner of Police, MY Garba, and Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) Abdul Eneche.

“The Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of Jam’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) Professor Shafi’u Abdullahi, led other religious leaders. Also present at meeting was the District Head of Rigasa, Alhaji Aminu Idris in whose domain the incident occurred.”

Our correspondent, who visited the Accident and Emergency section of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna where survivors were being treated, reported that over 50 injured patients were being attended to while those with severe cases had been taken to the theatre.

It was also observed majority of those injured were children and women.

A competent source from the local government who pleaded anonymity confirmed that not less than 80 persons were killed when the bomb was dropped while those injured are 53.

In a statement he signed Governor Uba Sani directed immediate probe of the tragic incident and declared that the State Government will foot the medical bills of injured.

According to him: “I received with shock news of the tragic incident at Tudun Biri village, Afaka ward of Rigasa District of Igabi Local Government, where Muslim faithful observing Maulud celebration were mistakenly killed and many others injured following a military drone attack targeting terrorists and bandits.

“Search and rescue operations in the area are ongoing.

“The State Government has dispatched top government officials to the area to assess the situation, reach out to the families of the victims and advice the government on the immediate actions/measures to be taken to lessen the pains of the families of the victims.

“I have ordered immediate investigation into the tragic incident. We are determined to prevent a repeat of this tragedy and reassure our people that their protection would be prioritized in the sustained fight against terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.

“I have also directed the immediate evacuation of the injured to the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital for emergency medical attention. The Government will be responsible for their treatment and related logistics.

“I appeal to the affected community, and all citizens to keep calm and continue to support the security forces and the state government in our battle against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements in Kaduna State.

“I am in consultation with the security forces to ensure that such mistakes are avoided in future operations.

“On behalf of the Government and People of Kaduna State, I wish to express our heartfelt sympathies to the families who lost their loved ones. May Allah in his mercy grant all of the victims Aljannah Firdausi, and their families the fortitude to bear these irreparable losses. Our heartfelt commiserations also go to those that sustained injuries. We wish them speedy recovery.”

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