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Defence Headquarters acknowledges civilian deaths in anti-terror operations as “needless tragedy”

Following the accidental bombing in Kaduna, Nigeria's Defence Headquarters addresses civilian casualties, emphasizing preventive measures and commitment to international laws in counter-terrorism efforts

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In the aftermath of the accidental bombing in Tudun Biri, Kaduna State, the Defence Headquarters issued a statement on Tuesday expressing deep regret for the civilian casualties during troops’ operations, deeming such incidents a “needless tragedy.” The incident resulted in the reported deaths of at least 85 villagers.

Maj. Gen. Edward Buba, the Director of Defense Media Operations, provided insights into the circumstances leading to the tragedy. He revealed that the military observed suspicious activities and the movement of terrorists in Tudun Biri, prompting the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor the situation. The presence of terrorists in the community posed a significant threat to key infrastructure and residents, leading to the decision to neutralize the threat.

Buba acknowledged the complexity of the situation, highlighting that terrorists often deliberately mingle with civilian populations to shield themselves from military actions. He emphasized the military’s commitment to minimizing civilian casualties and expressed the view that every civilian death during operations is considered a tragedy.

“It should be noted that terrorists often deliberately embed themselves within civilian population centres for the civilian population to bear the consequences of their atrocities. Nevertheless, the Nigerian military does its best at all times to distinguish between civilians and terrorists,” stated Buba.

To mitigate the risk of civilian casualties, the military has encouraged residents to actively cooperate by informing troops about their activities, especially in areas prone to terrorist activity. Buba outlined the importance of precise instructions to communities, enabling the military to differentiate between friendly and potentially harmful activities.

He reassured the public that the military would continue to adhere to international laws in its operations against terrorism. Buba underscored the armed forces’ determination to eradicate terrorists from the country while acknowledging the challenges posed by terrorists disguising themselves as civilians.

“The armed forces will continue to operate consistent with international law as they always have. It will also continue its determined and cautious progress in eradicating terrorists from our land,” affirmed Buba. As Nigeria grapples with the complexities of counter-terrorism efforts, the Defence Headquarters aims to strike a balance between security imperatives and safeguarding civilian lives.

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