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Nigerian forces may have killed children in airstrike over border in Niger, Nigerien official alleges

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Nigerien state television and an aid agency said on Sunday that the Nigerian military may have killed and wounded children in an airstrike in neighbouring Niger Republic.

Nigeria’s armed forces said that they were still investigating.

The attack is said to have taken place in the village of Nachadé in the region of Maradi, Niger, on Friday, a few kilometres from the border with Nigeria, said Chaibou Aboubacar, the governor of Maradi. He said seven children were killed and five wounded.

He did not say how he knew that Nigerian forces carried out the attack. Niger’s state television also said it was carried out by Nigerian forces, without providing evidence.

“As a matter of policy, the Nigerian Air Force does not make any incursions into areas outside Nigeria’s territorial boundaries. That’s our policy,” Major General Jimmy Akpor, Nigeria’s Director of Defence Information, said. He said an investigation was underway.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which cared for some of the wounded, confirmed the strike. It said that 12 people died, including four children. Local inhabitants told MSF that Nigerian forces were pursuing targets who had fled a border town.

The specific reason for the strike was not clear. It occurred in a region where banditry is common and where both governments fear that Islamist insurgents linked to Islamic State are gaining ground. (REUTERS)

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