The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has condemned the recent drone strike in Nasarawa State, Nigeria, which resulted in the deaths and critical injuries of dozens of civilians on Tuesday night. In response, the organization is calling for an immediate investigation into the incident.
According to initial reports, the attack was intended to neutralize bandits in the region, but instead struck a group of cattle herders returning to Nasarawa from Benue State. CIVIC’s Country Director, Benson Olugbuo, stated in a statement released by the organization’s Program Officer for Communication and Advocacy, Julius Gaiya, that the Nigerian Government should investigate what went wrong and make the findings swiftly and publicly available.
Accidental airstrikes on civilians have become a recurring threat in northern Nigeria in recent years, and to prevent similar tragedies in the future, CIVIC has emphasized the need 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 are 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, apologize to the victim’s families, and offer them fair and equitable compensation.