Dozens of villagers have been killed and no fewer than 50 others severely injured following a bomb mistakenly dropped by a troops of the Nigeria Army on a group of religious adherents during a Maulud celebration at Tudun Biri, a community within Igabi local government area of Kaduna State, on Sunday night.
Our correspondent, who visited the Emergency Department of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna on Monday, reports that over 50 injured patients were being attended to while those with severe cases had been taken to the theatre for corrective surgeries.
Majority of those injured were children and women.
A credible source from the local government area, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that no fewer than 83 persons were killed when the bomb was dropped and exploded and gave the figure of those injured as 53.
The incident, which occurred around 9:00pm on Sunday night, was initially suspected to had been mistakenly carried out by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) until a statement from the NAF headquarters stated that there was no operations carried out by its men in the past 24 hours in Kaduna State and environs emanated.
As it stands now considering the condition of those injured as seen by our correspondent, there was apprehension that the death toll, which exact figure cannot be immediately authenticated, may increase with time.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State government, has reacted to the incident, affirming that the Nigeria Army has admitted to mistakenly carrying out the operation, which led to the death of the villagers.
A statement issued in Kaduna on Monday afternoon following a special security meeting, signed by the Overseeing Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, noted that the State Government received briefings on the Sunday night’s attack, which left several citizens dead and others injured.
He said at the meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, which had in attendance heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders, the Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack.
“The General Officer Commanding One Division Nigerian Army, Major VU Okoro explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.
“The Deputy Governor at the end of the closed door meeting, conveyed the condolences of the Government and People of Kaduna State to the families that lost their loved ones, and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls,” he stated.
Aruwan was, however, silent on the number both the dead and injured victims of the unintended attack.
He added that as of the time of the update, search-and-rescue efforts were still ongoing, as dozens of injured victims have been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the State Government.
Heads of security agencies, who attended the meeting included the Commissioner of Police, MY Garba, and Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) Abdul Eneche. The Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of Jam’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Professor Shafi’u Abdullahi, led other religious leaders. Also present at meeting was the District of Rigasa, Alhaji Aminu Idris, whose domain the incident occurred.