The death toll from the accidental bombing of Tudun Biri in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State by the Nigerian Army is said to have risen to 120
This is as survivors of the unfortunate incident on Tuesday said they were bombed twice by the Nigerian military.
It was also gathered that the death toll from the incident had increased to 120 as officials of Amnesty International who visited the affected communities confirmed the increase in the death toll.
An air strike intended to flush out terrorists had on Sunday night accidentally hit civilians during a religious celebration at Tudun Biri.
While the Army claimed responsibility for the incident, the National Emergency Management Agency had on Monday night put the casualty figure at 85, adding that 66 victims sustained injuries.
But the accidental bombing on Tuesday attracted more condemnations from the pan-Northern political and cultural association, the Arewa Consultative Forum, and the Jama’tu Nasril Islam, saying that those found culpable should be punished.
On their part, President Bola Tinubu, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar mourned the victims of the bombing.
As the nation mourned the dead, survivors of the bombing recounted their experiences.
Forty-five-year-old Saudatu Alamagani, told journalists that the community was bombed twice.
Alamagani, who narrowly escaped being killed in the attack, said the incident started like a Nollywood movie around 10pm when a large number of Muslims celebrating Maulud, the birthday of Muhammad, were bombed.
She said while celebrating the Maulud, “The military started raining bombs on us’’, adding that at first, the worshippers mistook their attackers to be bandits.
She stated that while everybody scampered for safety, dead bodies littered “everywhere.”
She stated that while members of the community went in search of motorcycle operators to convey the critically injured to the nearest medical facilities for treatment, the military bombed the community again.
“They bombed us twice,” she said, adding that “it all started around 10pm when the military started bombing our community. We were celebrating the Maulud, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
“While we were looking for motorcycles to convey those that critically needed medical attention to the hospital, the military returned with the bombardment. Many villagers including women, men, children, and even pregnant women were killed during the attack.
“Four members of my family were killed in the attack. Some of the bodies of the dead littered the ground.”
Saudatu appealed to the government to assist members of the community, especially victims’ families to cushion the effect of the bomb attack.
Another survivor, 60-year-old Sulaiman Umar, told our correspondents that the village was bombed twice.
He stated, “I was eating that night when we were bombed. Many people died. We could hardly identify our children; some with their intestines out. They bombed us twice. After the first round of bombs, they came back to bomb us again.
“I ran into a deep forest where I slept till daybreak. We covered the dead with leaves. We separated the males from the females and covered them with leaves.”
Giving an update on the tragic incident, The Country Director of Amnesty International, Isah Sanusi, said officials of the organisation were on the ground at the affected communities and counted over 120 persons who died in the bombing.
He said, “I can confirm to you that the current number of casualties in the affected areas is more than 120 persons.”
He explained that there were at least 77 bodies buried in each of the mass graves, insisting that the casualty figure was higher than what NEMA stated.
“According to our contact who was at the scene of the mass burial, there were at least 77 dead bodies in each of the mass graves. There also 17 other persons who are from adjoining villages who lost their lives in the ugly incident,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the military high command at the Defense Headquarters, on Tuesday, said it would be investigating the accidental bombing and would establish a panel for this.
Responding to an inquiry from one of our correspondents, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. Edward Buba said the military would probe the incident.
He said a panel would be instituted to look into the matter, adding that the details would be communicated.
Buba said, “Yes, the military will probe the incident. When the panel is set up, the details will be communicated accordingly, please.”
Also speaking on the issue, the Director of the Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu stated that with the on-the-spot assessment done by the Chief of Army Staff, he would be able to assemble the right persons to make up the panel.
He said, “From what the COAS has done now, which was to visit the scene of the incident, he would be able to gain insight into the expertise that would be required to carry out the inquiry. This will help in guiding us on the kind of persons that will be in that panel. I can’t speak on how long the investigation will take.”