Nigerian Military Blames Deadly Strike on Refugee Camp on Faulty Maps
More than six months on, Nigeria’s military offered an explanation for its deadly bombing of a refugee camp. The account was immediately criticized as unsatisfactory by an aid group.
The Nigerian air force bombed a large displacement camp in Rann, killing more than 100 people including aid workers and refugees sheltering from Boko Haram, on January 17. The military said it was a mistake and pledged to investigate.
In the first public indication of its findings, defense spokesman Major General John Enenche gave a statement saying the camp was “not reflected in the operational map as a humanitarian base.”
He added, “Thus, when mass movement was noticed through aerial satellite observation, it was taken for Boko Haram terrorist activity, which needed to be neutralized with speed.”
Yet aid officials pointed out that the camp was controlled by the military itself in the state of Borno. “We are extremely worried by the statement of the Nigerian military,” Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said. “We call once again on the Nigerian authorities and all belligerent parties to ensure that the conduct of hostilities limits the impact on the safety of civilians.”
Migrants Found Dead in ‘Smuggler’ Truck in Texas
Investigators blamed the deaths of migrants packed inside a truck in the scorching Texas heat on human smugglers.
Eight men were found dead in the truck parked outside Walmart in San Antonio, 150 miles (240km) north of the Mexican border. Another man died on the way to hospital. A further 17 of those rescued are in a life-threatening condition, authorities said.
“All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” said San Antonio-based U.S. attorney Richard Durbin Jr.
Mexico said its nationals were among the dead and survivors, while Guatemala also confirmed there were Guatemalan survivors. U.S. officials said four survivors appear to be between 10 and 17 years old.
Experts warn that stricter immigration policies in the U.S. could push more immigrants to turn to smugglers, Reuters reports.
U.N. Refugee Head Criticizes Australian Refusal of Family Reunification
The head of the U.N. refugee agency said that Australia refuses to allow refugees held in offshore camps to come to the country, even if they have close family ties to Australia.
UNHCR “exceptionally” agreed to help relocate refugees from Australia’s offshore camps on Nauru and Manus Island to the U.S. under an Obama-era deal, Filippo Grandi said in a statement. This agreement was made “on the clear understanding that vulnerable refugees with close family ties in Australia would ultimately be allowed to settle there.”
Grandi’s statement read, “UNHCR has recently been informed by Australia that it refuses to accept even these refugees.” He said that UNHCR “has no other choice” but to endorse all of the refugees to relocate the U.S. in order “to avoid prolonging their ordeal.”
But he criticized the Australian government’s decision as “contrary to the fundamental principles of family unity and refugee protection, and to common decency.”
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