Nigerian security forces Nigerian security forces 

Nigerian air strike kills seven children in Niger

Seven children have been killed and five injured in Niger, in an airstrike by the Nigerian army targeting bandits whose activities are responsible for a wave of killings and kidnappings.

By Vatican News staff writer

An airstrike by the Nigerian military, which was targeting ‘bandits,’ has killed seven children and wounded several others in neighbouring Niger, officials said.

The attack on Friday took place in the village of Nachade in the Maradi region of Niger, a few kilometres from the border with Nigeria.

The governor of Maradi, Chaibou Aboubacar, said four of the children were killed instantly, while three others died on their way to the hospital. He added that five more were injured in apparently accidental air attack.

Killed while playing

According to governor Aboubacar, the parents of the children were attending a ceremony and the children were probably playing when the airstrike hit them.

He added that he believes the planes were targeting “armed bandits” in the border area but missed their target and hit the border village of Nachade.

Aboubacar said he visited the children’s graves on Saturday, as well as the scene of the bombardment.

Meanwhile, Nigerian authorities have said that an investigation into the incident is underway.

Armed banditry

Several communities in the border region between Nigeria and Niger have been affected by the activities of armed gangs who are responsible for a wave of killings, kidnappings, attacks on traders, and raids on cattle.

Since 2018, Niger has reinforced military patrols along the border with Nigeria and both countries have been conducting joint military operations to stem the incursion of these gangs.

Niger presently faces two jihadist fronts: the Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) in the south-east, while other groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are present in the West.

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21 February 2022, 11:55