Niger: Investigations Open Into Abadam Deadly Air Strike
The country is observing three days of national mourning in honour of at least 36 people killed in the bombing.
Niger’s authorities have continued with investigations into the air strike of February 17, 2015 on a Mosque in Abadam, a village located on the border between Niger and Nigeria that killed at least 36 people and injured more than 20 others as they gathered for a funeral ceremony, RFI reported. The Niamey government declared three days of national mourning that started on Thursday, February 19, 2015 in honour of the people who died in the air strike.
Government officials said that at least 36 civilians were killed when an unidentified airplane bombed a border village in Niger on Wednesday, Reuters cited. Military officials in Niger are reported to have said the air crew was likely to have mistaken the villagers, who had gathered for a funeral near a mosque, for Boko Haram militants. The Deputy Mayor of Abadam, Ibrahim Ari, is cited as having told the BBC that a plane had dropped three bombs. One struck a group of mourners sitting in front of the residence of a local chief, stating that more than 20 people had been injured during the incident. A local official in the village of Abadam blamed the Nigerian air force for the incident. By yesterday, it was not yet clear who was responsible for the bombardment as Nigeria has denied responsibility. “It’s not to my knowledge and there has not been any report from our people of such an incident,” BBC quoted Dele Alonge, a spokesman for Nigeria’s air force as having said.
The Abadam bombing incident came at the time the Nigerian army has intensified its offensive against Boko Haram militants to dislodge them from the villages and other localities they have occupied in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States in the north east of the country. Nigerian defence spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said the army killed more than 300 Boko Haram militants during military operations, BBC reported, and added that two soldiers lost their lives and 10 more were wounded in Borno State. BBC further cited Nigerian defence spokesman as saying that the army destroyed several Boko Haram armoured vehicles, seized five types of armoured fighting vehicles, an anti-aircraft gun, 50 cases of bombs, eight different types of machine guns, some 50 cases of ammunition, 300 motorcycles the rebels use to launch attacks, campsites used by the terrorists and captured some fighters.