Michael Olugbode in Abuja
The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has condemned the recent drone strike in Nasarawa State which resulted in the deaths and critical injuries of dozens of civilians, asking for a probe of the incident.
According to initial reports, the attack was intended to neutralise bandits in the region, but strayed, killing a group of cattle herders returning to Nasarawa State from Benue State.
CIVIC’s Country Director, Benson Olugbuo, in a statement yesterday, signed by the organisation’s Programme Officer for Communication and Advocacy, Julius Gaiya, asked the Nigerian Government to investigate what went wrong and make the findings swiftly and available to members of the public.
Accidental airstrikes on civilians have become a recurring threat in northern Nigeria in recent years, and to prevent similar tragedies in the future, CIVIC said it was pertinent for the Nigerian Armed Forces to train or retrain all security agents to ensure improved air-ground coordination.
The statement also stressed that, in line with International Humanitarian Law, all involved actors must increase scrutiny and confirm that all feasible precautions were taken before launching an attack.
If an investigation finds that the Nigerian Government was responsible for the incident, CIVIC is calling for the government to acknowledge its role, apologise to the victims’ families, and offer them fair and equitable compensation.