Nigerian Military Says Air Strike Hit ISIS, Playing Down Alleged Civilian Deaths

By Reuters
October 2, 2021 Updated: October 4, 2021

ABUJA—The Nigerian military said on Thursday a deadly air strike hit an ISIS terrorist camp and that casualties could not be determined, after witnesses said the attack had killed dozens of civilians in the northeast, where the country is waging a 12-year war against jihadist insurgents.

Two Nigerian Air Force planes bombed and killed dozens of civilians, mostly fishermen, at a fish market in Daban Masara village, a victim and a resident told Reuters on Tuesday.

“Necessary steps were taken to ensure that the presence of the terrorists was ascertained and the strike was precise and professionally executed,” the Nigerian military said in a statement.

The military said the site of the air strike was a well-known enclave of ISIS’s West Africa branch, adding that fishing is banned in the area.

The military has for years banned fishing because of its alleged ties to funding the terrorists.

“Although casualty figures could not be ascertained, the strike was verified to be successful in disrupting (ISIS) logistics movement and foot soldiers,” the statement said.

The air strike comes two months after the U.S. government transferred six A-29 Super Tucano fighter planes to Nigeria to assist in its war against Islamist terrorists.

Sources familiar with the matter said six remaining A-29s should arrive from the United States over the next week or thereabouts. The sources added that mitigating civilian harm is a serious concern and an issue where the United States will continue to engage with its Nigerian partners.