Doctors Without Borders says that the death toll has risen to “about 90” from a Nigerian military airstrike Tuesday on a displaced persons camps in the country’s restive Borno state.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has said that the bombing happened during an operation targeting Boko Haram militants and was accidental.
The aid group, also known by its French acronym MSF, initially counted 52 dead from the bombing. Now, it says the death toll may actually be significantly higher than its most recent count of 90, based on reports from residents and community leaders. “The majority of the victims were women and children,” it added.
“The victims of this horrifying event deserve a transparent account of what happened and the circumstances in which this attack took place,” Bruno Jochum, MSF general director, said in a statement.
The Rann camp houses some 25,000 people who have fled from their homes, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, amid a major ongoing military offensive against Boko Haram.
Humanitarian organizations have evacuated some 100 injured people from the camp to Maiduguri city for further treatment, according to the ICRC. An ICRC surgeon said in a statement that some 68 patients were expected to be operated on by tomorrow.
“People had sought safety in what they thought was a protected site—instead they were bombed by those who were meant to safeguard them,” Jochum added.
Since the military airstrike, the camp has seen more violence – this time from the militants. According to the Associated Press, “More than 100 Boko Haram fighters launched the attack Thursday evening, and soldiers battled for hours trying to repel them.” The extent of the damage is not yet clear.