Africa

Nigeria air strike error: Urgent plea to evacuate wounded

The aftermath of a bombing allegedly carried out by the Nigerian Army at a government-run camp for internally displaced persons in Rann, Nigeria Image copyright EPA
Image caption There are still 46 seriously injured people at the camp in Rann, Nigeria

Refugees badly injured after the Nigerian military accidentally bombed their camp need urgent evacuation, an aid agency says.

The Red Cross said 46 people were still being treated for "serious" wounds, a day after the camp was hit.

More than 70 people died in the attack, which was intended to target Boko Haram militants in Rann, in north-eastern Nigeria.

But the toll could rise if the wounded stay in their "precarious" situation.

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Dr Laurent Singa, an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) surgeon in Rann, said: "The conditions for post-operative care are not adequate, so all the patients must be evacuated to Maiduguri as soon as possible."

About eight people still need to be evacuated. "It's a race against the clock to get everyone out before nightfall," says ICRC spokeswoman Aleksandra Matijovic.

MSF chief Bruno Jochum said: "The toll could be significantly higher than what we said yesterday, we are still confirming the numbers... the focus right now is on the evacuation of the wounded."

Nigeria's military has apologised for the "accidental" bombing, which it said was due to "the fog of war", but Human Rights Watch has said this does not absolve them of responsibility, calling for compensation for the victims.

Mausi Segun, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch in Nigeria said: "Even if there is no evidence of a wilful attack on the camp, which would be a war crime, the camp was bombed indiscriminately, violating international humanitarian law.

"Victims should not be denied redress merely because the government decided the bombing was accidental."

It is believed to be the first time Nigeria's military has acknowledged making such a mistake in a region where villagers have reported civilian casualties in near-daily bombings targeting the Islamic militants.

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