Fighter jets (file photo)
Nigerian army has accidentally killed no fewer than seven children in Niger Republic in an air strike that was targeting “bandits.”
Chaibou Aboubacar, the governor of Niger’s Maradi region, who confirmed the incident to AFP, said that the air raid also hurt five civilians.
Governor Chaibou Aboubacar explained that four were killed instantly and three died on their way to hospital.
State TV said that the attack happened in Nachade village.
Nigerian officials said an investigation had begun on the incident, according to AFP.
But Aboubacar said that the victims’ parents were attending a ceremony and “the children were probably playing” when the air strikes hit them.
He said that he believed the planes were targeting “armed bandits” in areas around the border between the two countries but missed their target and hit Nachade, a village in the area of Madarounfa.
Niger and Nigeria have been conducting joint military operations against armed gangs responsible for a wave of kidnappings and killings in the region.
Since 2018 Niger has reinforced military patrols along its border with Nigeria to prevent incursions of the gangs.
The children’s deaths come just three months after 26 children aged five and six died in a fire at a school in Maradi city, according to BBC.