Military Strikes ‘Mistakenly’ Kill Over 40 Residents in Zamfara

Military Strikes ‘Mistakenly’ Kill Over 40 Residents in Zamfara

Many people are believed to have died in Kukawa hamlet in Zamfara State’s Maradun Local Government Area as a result of airstrikes carried out by Nigerian Army forces as part of Operation Hadarin Daji.

Despite these reports, the army has refuted claims of civilian casualties, stating that their operations target bandits and not innocent civilians in the state.

According to Musa Abubakar, a resident of Kukawa village who narrowly escaped the bombardment, the community was observing Eid El Fitr prayers last Wednesday when the Nigerian Air Force conducted airstrikes, resulting in the deaths of at least 40 people.

He said, “We were performing the Eid El Fitr prayer when we saw a plane approaching the area.

“Immediately the plane approached the Eid praying ground, we heard a terrifying sound and everybody took to their heels

“I was one of the lucky ones who escaped unhurt but several people were killed and many others sustained various degrees of injuries.

“I lost 13 people who are my blood relations while two others.”

However, a different villager, preferring to remain unnamed, suggested that the village bombardment occurred due to gunfire from suspected bandits aiming at military aircraft.

READ ALSO: Despite Presence of Security Forces, Terrorists Freely Release Eid-El-Fitr Celebration Video in Zamfara

He said, “The aircraft was passing over the village and suddenly the bandits started shooting toward its direction

“This forced the military to drop several bombs in the village during the Eid El Fitr prayer and many people lost their lives.”

In a phone interview with PUNCH Online, Lieutenant Suleiman Omale, the spokesperson for Operation Hadarin Daji, emphasized that the military’s focus is on combating bandits, not harming innocent civilians in the state.

He also stated that he had no knowledge of any civilian casualties resulting from the airstrikes.

“We are fighting bandits, not the innocent Nigerians. I am not aware of any civilian that was killed during the operation.”

Recall that reports recently covered the successful airstrikes carried out by the air components of Operation Hadin Kai and Hadarin Daji. These strikes thwarted terrorists’ plans to target vulnerable locations.

The operations targeted several terrorist hideouts across Katsina and Borno states. Specifically, in Katsina, airstrikes targeted a terrorist enclave situated northwest of Yartsamiya Village in Danmusa Local Government Area.