A Nigerian fighter jet misfired Tuesday during an operation, striking refugees at a camp for the internally displaced as well as aid workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to Nigerian officials and the Red Cross.
The Nigerian government provided no official death toll, but an aid organization said more than 50 people were killed at the camp in the northeastern state of Borno.
The operation was targeting the terrorist group Boko Haram, according to the army.
Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, a Nigerian army commander, said during a news conference in Maiduguri that two soldiers were “affected” during the operation. He did not elaborate.
“There are casualties and wounded but the actual numbers,” he said, “I am yet to get the numbers of casualties of civilians were killed.”
Doctors Without Borders condemned what it called a “large-scale attack on vulnerable people.” It said 52 people were killed and 120 more were wounded.
The humanitarian group, which has teams in the area, called the incident “shocking and unacceptable.”
“The safety of civilians must be respected. We are urgently calling on all parties to ensure the facilitation of medical evacuations by air or road for survivors who are in need of emergency care,” said Jean-Clément Cabrol, Doctors Without Borders’ director of operations.
The humanitarian group tweeted images of destroyed structures and several of the injured, including at least one badly wounded child receiving treatment.
Doctors Without Borders teams are providing first aid to the wounded at their facility in Rann, the group said. They’re also preparing to treat patients evacuated from the refugee camp.
ICRC Africa said on Twitter that six Nigerian Red Cross staffers had been killed and 13 others wounded.
Borno, which borders Cameroon, Chad and Niger, is home to the highest population of refugees in Nigeria, the majority displaced by fighting between government troops and insurgents, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Of the roughly 1.8 million people displaced by conflict, 92% of them are housed in camps in Borno, Adamaw and Yobe states, that organization reported last month.
“President (Muhammadu) Buhari condoles with families of the dead, wishes the wounded divine succor, leading to full recovery, and sympathizes with the Borno State government,” the President said in a statement.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described a statement by a Nigerian commander about casualties. The commander, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, said that two soldiers were affected. He did not say that two soldiers had died.