Home Metro Counterinsurgency Operational Failure In Kaduna: AGFCS condemns accidental bombing of 85 people to dead
Metro - December 7, 2023

Counterinsurgency Operational Failure In Kaduna: AGFCS condemns accidental bombing of 85 people to dead

…blames military on its negligence

Chief of Defence Staff,  General Christopher Musa

 

Ojinta Ojii

 

Action   Group   on   Free   Civic   Space   (AGFCS), has expressed   deep   dismay   and unequivocally condemned  the military  “accidental bombing” that resulted in the tragic death of at least 85 people, who were celebrating the Islamic event of Maulud in Tudun Biri, a village  in  the  Igabi  Local  Government  Area  of  Kaduna  State,  Nigeria.

According to statement made available to the Mirror, signed by the 13 members of the group, under the leadership of Executive Director, Space for Change (S4C), Ms. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, the incident occurred   on Sunday,   November   3,   2023,   and   has   been officially   confirmed   by the National   Emergency   Management   Agency.

They said that the   military   has   acknowledged responsibility for the operation that resulted in the loss of innocent civilian lives, yet there is no mention of measures aimed at providing closure for the victims and their families or preventing a recurrence of such incidents in the future.

“This regrettable and avoidable incident is part of a concerning pattern of negligence in counterinsurgency   efforts   and a   disturbing   lack   of   accountability within   the   military. Similar occurrences have been observed in Borno in 2017, resulting in 52 fatalities and 120 injuries, and in Katsina in 2022, with a casualty and 13 injuries. More recently, in January 2023, 36 people lost their lives, and 6 others were injured in Kwatiri, a small settlement in Nasarawa, in a similar incident.

“The issue of military negligence has led to the needless loss of lives and properties, leaving many dead, injured, and displaced. Unfortunately,   there   is   no   publicly   available   documentation   of   investigations,   court-martials, or prosecutions related to these acts. The   bombing   of   innocent   civilians   in   Tudun   Biri   not   only   violates   the   military’s responsibility to protect civilians in armed conflict but is also a heinous and cold-blooded murder of innocent lives. The Chief of Army Staff and the Defence Headquarters must take   immediate   action   to   address   the   escalating   number   of   civilian   casualties   in counterinsurgency   measures”, it stated.

The group emphasized   that   accountability   is   crucial   to prevent the recurrence of such tragic incidents.

“It not only provides closure for the victims and their families but also serves as a deterrent against future instances of gross negligence. Furthermore,   The   Terrorism   (Prevention   and   Prohibition)   Act   2022   stipulates compensation for victims in situations like the one in Tudun Biri. Section 91 of the Act establishes the Terrorism Victims Trust Fund, which is designated to pay compensation, restitution,   and   damages   to   victims   of   acts   of   terrorism.   This   aligns   with   Nigeria’s obligations   under   various   international   and   regional   instruments,   including   the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, all of which recognize the right to compensation and reparation for victims of terrorism.

“The AGFCS, fully committed to pursuing justice in this case, and calls that government   should   urgently   establish   a   framework   for   the   protection   of civilians and mitigation of civilian casualties in armed conflicts. The absence of such a framework at the national level affects the rules of engagement deployed in various operational theatres. A thorough investigation into the Kaduna incident, with a public presentation of the report and the prosecution of all officers involved. Compensation   should   be   paid   with   a   public   apology,   alongside   social   and economic rehabilitation for victims of these heinous crimes. An immediate operational evaluation of the platforms and the entire army aviation involved in this operation. An immediate suspension of army aviation operations until an evaluation report by the Defense Headquarters recommends otherwise,” they stressed.

The group  are ,  Spaces for Change (S4C), Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC),  Centre for Community Empowerment in Conflict and Peacebuilding,  Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD Nigeria),  Vision Spring Initiatives  (VSI),  Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development,  OGECHI & SAM IKEH FOUNDATION (OSAIF) , Institutional and Sustainable Development Foundation , Entrepreneurship Initiative for African Youth (EIFAY Africa)10. World Impact Development Foundation (WIDEF), Open Society on Justice Reform Project, Building Blocks for Peace Foundation and Tap Initiative.

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