DAKAR, Senegal — The number of people killed in an accidental military bombing at a Nigerian camp for displaced people has increased to 70, aid groups said on Wednesday, with at least nine of them humanitarian workers. The mistaken attack came after a military plane targeted an area crowded with people fleeing Boko Haram militants.
Medical workers were scrambling on Wednesday to assemble equipment to treat dozens of severely injured people who were still awaiting evacuation from the camp in Rann, in northeastern Nigeria. At least 120 people were hurt in the errant strike on Tuesday by the Nigerian Air Force at the camp, which is near the Cameroon border and houses about 20,000 people. Initial reports put the death toll around 50.
Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian aid group, said three employees of a Cameroonian firm that it hired to provide water and sanitation services in the camp were among the dead. Six local workers for the Nigerian Red Cross were also killed, and 13 others were hurt.
Fifty-four injured people were flown to hospitals in Maiduguri, Nigeria, the capital of Borno State. Among them were two young children: a 7-year-old named Yaa Zara with a fractured arm and Kaka Hauwa, 5, whose neck was injured. One of the blasts was so forceful it knocked out two of Kaka’s teeth, the children’s mother, Fati Yasin, 35, said on Tuesday. She said she left her two children at their home in the camp to collect tickets for food distribution when she heard the loud buzz of a fighter jet overhead.
“We looked at it in the sky and before we knew it, it had dropped two bombs,” she said.
The bomb struck around noon Tuesday, just as aid workers were vaccinating children in the camp for measles and screening them for malnutrition, according to a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders.
In the wake of the bombing, human rights groups were trying to assess how the military could have mistaken such a crowded camp for Boko Haram fighters. A terrorism and counterterrorism researcher for Human Rights Watch circulated on Twitter an aerial view of the encampment dotted with tents and other structures. It is situated near a Nigerian military post.
View image on Twitter
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