(PatrioticPost.com)- On Friday, February 18, an airstrike in the Maradi region of neighboring Niger, allegedly launched by the Nigerian Air Force, killed twelve people including children, according to Maradi governor Chaibou Aboubacar.
The attack took place in the village of Nachadé just a few kilometers from Niger’s border with Nigeria. According to Aboubacar, seven children were killed in the strike and another five were injured.
The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which cared for some of the wounded, confirmed the strike occurred. But according to the charity, of the 12 people killed, only four were children.
Governor Aboubacar would not say how he knew Nigerian forces were responsible for the airstrike. But his claim was echoed by Niger’s state-controlled television which also said the attack was carried out by the Nigerian military. However, there is no evidence confirming the claim.
Major General Jimmy Akpor, Nigeria’s Director of Defense Information denied the accusation saying as a matter of policy, the Nigerian Air Force does not make incursions into areas outside of Nigeria’s borders. However, Akbor said, an investigation into the attack is underway.
Governor Aboubacar, who visited the graves of the children killed in the attack, said Nigerian Air Force planes have been combing the area for local gangs of bandits operating in northwest Nigeria.
Local inhabitants of Nachadé also said Nigerian forces were pursuing a group of bandits that had fled a Nigerian border town for Niger at the time of the strike.
The northwest region of Nigeria has been terrorized by these gangs of bandits since late 2020. The bandits kill people or kidnap them and hold them for ransom. The Maradi region of Niger has been the region most affected by the violence created by the bandits in Nigeria’s Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara regions.
In 2018, Niger beefed up security at its border with Nigeria to prevent these gangs from gaining entry. Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has created a joint task force to stop fleeing criminals from taking refuge elsewhere in the region.