Abdullahi Musa's three children were among those killed in the December 3, 2023 attack in Kaduna State. / Photo: TRT Afrika

By Abdulwasiu Hassan

A middle-aged Nigerian man has lost more than 20 family members after the military struck civilians at a village in the northern state of Kaduna on Sunday.

Abdullahi Musa told TRT Afrika that on the fateful day he was at a religious ceremony in the morning, when military bombs struck the venue at Tudun Biri village.

"I heard a loud explosion, and the next minute, I was thrown a distance away," he said on his hospital bed at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna State.

"Everything happened so fast," he recalled, saying he remained conscious for several minutes.

Children killed

Emergency rescue teams took tens of injured people to the hospital, including Musa.

"I have been informed that three of my children were killed by the airstrike," a distraught Musa said.

"One of the children was very excited about school, and often told me how her future would be bright. It breaks my heart that she is no more, and so are my other children," he said, adding: "It is God's will, I respect it."

The survivor said his three younger brothers – including the sponsor of his children's education – were among those killed. More than 20 of his relatives lost their lives during the attack, he said.

'Disturbing and painful'

At least 85 people were killed and 66 injured in the Sunday attack, according to Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Describing the incident as "very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful" President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday ordered a "thorough and full-fledged investigation into the incident."

On Monday, Kaduna State's interior ministry commissioner Samuel Aruwan said an investigation had indicated that the civilians were killed in an "unfortunate and unintended" attack.

According to an army commander, VU Okoro, the soldiers were on "a routine mission against terrorists" but accidentally killed civilian members of the community.

'Hid among civilians'

The military, through the director of media operations Major-General Edward Buba, said that the suspected insurgents "hid among civilians", prompting the "regrettable" attack.

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Taoreed Lagbaja, who visited the scene on Tuesday, said the soldiers "wrongly analysed and misinterpreted the victims' pattern of activities to be similar to those of insurgents."

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TRT Afrika