Nigerian airstrike killed 33 villagers during Eid, say witnesses

The military said on Thursday the airstrikes had eliminated armed gangs

By Reuters
April 20, 2024
Nigerian Air Force fighter jets displays their fire power during an event at Kwenev air range, outskirts of Makurdi, Nigeria. — AFP/File

MAIDUGURI/ABUJA: An airstrike on a village in Nigeria’s northwestern Zamfara state killed at least 33 people last week, four residents and a traditional leader said, after a military operation targeting armed kidnapping gangs and their hideouts.


The incident, on April 10, is the latest in a pattern of deadly aerial assaults by the military that have killed civilians and were the subject of a special Reuters report last year.

The military said on Thursday the airstrikes had eliminated armed gangs, known locally as bandits, in several locations in Zamfara, including Maradun local government area.

But Lawali Ango, the traditional head of Dogon Daji village in Maradun, told Reuters there were no bandits in his area of mainly Muslim Zamfara.

Ango said he was away from his village on April 10, preparing for Eid prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramazan at around 0700 GMT when he saw aircraft passing. This was followed by loud explosions.

When he tried to contact his village, the calls did not go through and he and a group of men raced back home on motorbikes.

“Arriving at the scene, I saw children, men and women ... were killed and trapped inside the collapsed buildings that were hit by a bomb,” Ango said by phone, adding that 33 people had been killed.