Maiduguri, February 23, 2022 – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is deeply alarmed by reports of the killing of a dozen civilians, including children, in an airstrike in the Maradi region, southern Niger. CIVIC calls on Nigerian authorities, in close coordination with the Nigerien government, to lead a rapid and transparent investigation. If civilian casualties from the airstrike are confirmed, the Government of Nigeria should provide post-harm amends to civilians affected by the strike and put in place measures to prevent the reoccurrence.
“This airstrike shows yet again that it is civilians who bear the brunt of conflict in the region. Governments carrying out military operations, including airstrikes, must take tangible and stronger steps to prevent harm to the civilian population,” says Benson Olugbuo, CIVIC’s Country Director in Nigeria.
On Friday, February 18, an airstrike hit a small village in the Madarounfa district of southern Niger. According to the non-governmental organization, Doctors Without Borders, which received several of the casualties at a local hospital, the strike killed at least 12 people, including four children, and injured 16 others. The strike was later confirmed by a local governor of the Maradi region. A spokesperson for Nigeria’s military said that an investigation into the incident has begun.
“We welcome the launch of an investigation by Nigeria’s military, and we encourage the investigation to be prompt and transparent. We also encourage the Government of Nigeria to continue to work to improve its efforts to minimize harm to civilians from airstrikes,” says Olugbuo.
Center for Civilians in Conflict also urges the Government of Nigeria to continue improving its air-ground coordination to prevent and mitigate harm to civilians during airstrikes.
CIVIC in Nigeria:
Since 2018, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has engaged with communities, the military, and community militias in the northeast to improve the protection of civilians. Recognizing that civilians are the best agents of their own protection, CIVIC supports civilians to advocate for their protection, including with state and non-state security forces. In parallel, CIVIC provides training and advice to Nigerian security forces to further their efforts to better protect civilians. More here.
For more information, please contact:
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In Washington, D.C.: CIVIC’s Global Media team: email@example.com