Niamey (NIGER): As many as 30 mourners at a funeral ceremony were killed when an unidentified plane bombarded a village in Niger near the Nigerian border, local officials said Wednesday.
The strike on Tuesday came with Niger involved in a regional offensive in the area against Nigeria-based Boko Haram fighters, who have waged a brutal six-year insurgency that has killed over 13,000 people.
“The victims were residents attending a mourning ceremony for a prefecture official,” said a humanitarian source, who added 20-30 people were killed in the attack near the mosque in
Meanwhile seven villagers at Maroua in far north Cameroon were killed on Tuesday when they fought back against Boko Haram fighters who stole 70 cows and torched houses in Gaboua.
Nine of the militants died in clashes against the locals who were armed with clubs, machetes and bows and arrows.
It was not clear who carried out the air strike in Niger, but Nigeria denied responsibility.
“It’s not to my knowledge and there has not been any report from our people of such an incident,” said Air Commodore Dele Alonge, a spokesman for Nigeria’s air force said in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
However, at least one local leader, who put the death toll at 37 with 20 wounded, blamed Nigeria.
“At first we thought it was a blunder by Chad or Niger’s army, but now we suspect the Nigerian army is responsible,” said an elected leader from Bosso in Niger, which is about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Abadam.
The leader said a similar air strike several days ago on the nearby village of Gamgara killed one person.
Also on Wednesday, Nigerian forces have killed more than 300 Boko Haram fighters during an operation to recapture 11 towns and villages since the start of the week, the military said on Wednesday.