International medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, commonly known as Doctors without Borders, has said that as many as 170 persons may have been killed as a result of the bombing that took place in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp, in Rann, Borno state.
A Nigerian Air Force jet fighter had accidentally shelled the IDP camp on Tuesday, killing scores and injuring many others.
Official figure of the people that died in the unfortunate incident stood at 54 as at Thursday evening.
After the bombing happened on Tuesday, it was reported that 54 persons had been killed and 120 others injured.
However, in a statement on Friday, Bruno Jochum, the MSF General Director,said that about 90 people were killed in the incident while “consistent reports” from residents and community leaders put the death toll at over 170.
Jochum added that the organisation would be investigating the claims by unofficial sources, as the victims of the “horrifying” incident deserve a transparent account of what took place in Rann.
The statement read in part: “Around 90 people were killed when a Nigerian Air Force plane circled twice and dropped two bombs in the middle of the town of Rann, which hosts thousands of internally displaced people.
“At the time of the attack, an aid distribution was taking place. The majority of the victims were women and children.
“Outside of what MSF teams have witnessed, consistent reports from residents and community leaders say as many as 170 people were killed,”adding that “This figure needs to be confirmed.”
Jochum said that it was particularly painful given that the “People had sought safety in what they thought was a protected site. Instead they were bombed by those who were meant to safeguard them.”
“Many of the survivors will need long-term care and support for the future,” the MSF chief continued.
“The tragedy in Rann too clearly illustrates the dire situation in Borno State, where extremely vulnerable people remain trapped in a cycle of daily violence between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram.
“This intense violence has led to the displacement of nearly three million people over the past few years, who are still in urgent need of protection and assistance.”
Jochum noted with regret that the general public has had to “pay the price of a merciless conflict, where the war between Boko Haram and Nigerian military too often disregards the safety of civilians.”
He insisted that “The people of Borno should be entitled to guarantees of protection and assistance,” urging the Nigerian Government “to ensure the protection of its people.”
According to the statement, the “MSF first started working in Nigeria in 1996 and is one of the few organizations still able to operate in hard-to-reach areas of the country.”