Sequel to the airstrike that killed at least 85 people and injured several others at Tudun Biri village in Kaduna state on Sunday, the United Nations has urged the military to review its rules of engagement.

The army drone targeting bandits struck as residents were celebrating their Maulud festival.

Reacting to the incident, the UN human rights, Public Information Officer, Seif Magango on Wednesday expressed his disapproval of the attack, noting that it was the latest of at least four airstrikes that have resulted in significant civilian fatalities since 2017.

“While we note that the authorities have termed the civilian deaths as accidental, we call on them to take all feasible steps in future to ensure civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected,” said Magango in a statement.

“They must review rules of engagement and standard operating procedures to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.”

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ordered an investigation Tuesday after the army acknowledged one of its drones mistakenly struck the village.

The military said troops were carrying out aerial patrols when they observed a group of people and “misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits” before the drone strike was launched.

“We are particularly alarmed by reports that the strike was based on the ‘pattern of activities’ of those at the scene, which was wrongly analysed and misinterpreted,” said Magando

“There are serious concerns as to whether so-called ‘pattern of life’ strikes sufficiently complies with international law.”

The military often relies on airstrikes in their battle against bandit militias in the Northwest and Northeast of the country, where jihadists have been fighting for more than a decade.

“We urge the Nigerian authorities to thoroughly and impartially investigate all alleged violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, including deaths and injuries from air force strikes, and hold those found responsible to account,” said Magango.

“The government should also provide victims of any unlawful strikes and their families with adequate reparations.”

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