18th February, 2015
As many as 30 mourners at a funeral ceremony were killed when an unidentified plane bombarded a village in Niger near the Nigerian border, local officials said Wednesday.
The strike on Tuesday came with Niger involved in a regional offensive in the area against Nigeria-based Boko Haram fighters, who have waged a brutal six-year insurgency that has killed over 13,000 people.
“The victims were residents attending a mourning ceremony for a prefecture official,” said a humanitarian source, who added 20-30 people were killed in the attack near the mosque in Abadam.
Meanwhile in neighbouring Cameroon, eight civilians were killed in a Boko Haram attack, as the armed Islamists continue to expand their bloody campaign in the region. Nine militants were killed when the villages fought back.
It was not clear who carried out the air strike in Niger, but Nigeria denied responsibility.
“It’s not to my knowledge and there has not been any report from our people of such an incident,” said Air Commodore Dele Alonge, a spokesman for Nigeria’s air force.
However, at least one local leader, who put the death toll at 37 with 20 wounded, blamed Nigeria.
“At first we thought it was a blunder by Chad or Niger’s army, but now we suspect the Nigerian army is responsible,” said an elected leader from Bosso in Niger, which is about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Abadam.
The leader said a similar air strike several days ago on the nearby village of Gamgara killed one person.
Niger has been hit by several bombings blamed on Boko Haram, which has widened its insurgency with attacks on neighbouring countries.