The Red Cross has reported the death of 53 people and potentially many more have been injured after a Nigerian fighter jet accidentally bombed a refugee camp in Rann located in the Borno State on Tuesday. The Nigerian leader issued a statement saying the airforce “accidentally bombed a civilian community.”

Targeting Boko Haram

The airstrike was intended for Boko Haram militants, but the Nigerian fighter jet bombed a camp for refugees who were internally displaced due to the ongoing conflict with Boko Haram (BH) and a more recent operation against the terrorist group.

Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari tweeted about the airstrike: “I received with regret News that the Air Force, working to mop up BH insurgents, accidentally bombed a civilian community in Rann,Borno State.”

The seven-year-old conflict with Boko Haram has been fierce in Nigeria, especially after the kidnapping of approximately 300 schoolgirls in 2014. The conflict has birthed horrific events, which include the destruction of villages, rapes and murders of women and girls, child suicide bombers, and military corruption leading to the slaughter of innocent people.

Humanitarian groups have been in Nigeria for a while trying to help where they can, while Boko Haram wreaks havoc in the country. It is reported that of the 1.8 million displaced refugees, 92% of them are in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.

Humanitarian Condemnation

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) claimed six Nigerian Red Cross members have been killed by the accidental airstrike, with 13 others wounded.

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The Nigerian Red Cross members were in Rann to aid the 25,000+ displaced people by providing them with food among other resources.

Doctors Without Borders have strongly asserted their condemnation of the airstrike, calling it a “large-scale attack on vulnerable people” and that it was “shocking and unacceptable.” Jean-Clément Cabrol, Director of Operations for Doctors Without Borders, called on all groups to provide resources to help those affected and to evacuate those who need immediate medical treatment either by road or air.

He added that “the safety of civilians must be respected” (CNN).

Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, among others have called to Nigeria to compensate those affected and their families. Segun said that even though it was not a deliberate bombing (which would be a war crime), the random accidental bombing of the camp is a violation of international humanitarian law.

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