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Nigerian authorities trying to cover up killing of civilians in Kaduna drone attack: Amnesty International

International Nigeria has accused the Nigerian authorities of attempting to cover up the mass killing of over 120 civilians in the recent Kaduna drone attack by the military.

In a statement on December 7, the rights organisation’s director, Isa Sanusi, criticised the military for releasing conflicting explanations on the incident in Tudun Biri, which saw dozens killed and many others injured after being hit by a misfire from drones belonging to the Nigerian Army.

While the Nigerian Army in Kaduna claimed that the incident was a mistake, Defence Headquarters claimed that suspected bandits had infiltrated civilians, which led to the devastating incident.

Mr Sanusi said the contradictory explanations from the military showed their efforts of attempting to sweep the incident under the carpet without any investigation or justice for the lost lives.

He added, “The contradictory explanations offered by the Nigerian military so far show their complete disregard for civilian lives and suggest attempts by the authorities to cover up these grave human rights violations. Air strikes with deadly consequences for civilians are becoming routine. This is completely unacceptable.”

The director, however, blamed the Nigerian authorities for the incident, stating, “The Nigerian military’s recklessness is a result of the authorities’ consistent failure to hold them to account for a long list of such atrocities.”

Mr Sanusi called on President Bola Tinubu to investigate the incident promptly by setting up an investigative panel to ensure victims get justice.

The director said the actions of the Nigerian military are completely unacceptable as “their complete disregard for civilian lives suggest attempts by the authorities to cover up these grave human rights violations. Air strikes with deadly consequences for civilians are becoming routine.” 

He added, “The Nigerian authorities’ persistent failure to hold the military to account is encouraging impunity and increasingly endangering the lives of the civilians the military is supposed to be protecting. The result is that the military is routinely carrying out air strikes that end up killing civilians.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Kashim Shettima told the victims to move on from their loss: “There is no gain in dwelling too much on this incident that has happened.”