At least 20 fishermen were killed accidentally in a Nigerian military strike on a jihadist camp in northeast Nigeria, two security sources and locals told AFP.
A Nigerian fighter jet early on Sunday bombarded Kwatar Daban Masara in Lake Chad, which straddles Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the sources said.
The area is a bastion for the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
The reports of casualties came less than two weeks after officials say another airstrike on a village killed nine civilians in Nigeria’s northeast where the military is battling a 12-year Islamist insurgency.
ISWAP recently lifted a ban on fishermen in its territory, allowing them to move in and fish in the freshwater lake for a fee. That led to an influx of fisherman who had abandoned the area.
“Any fisherman that goes to that area does so at his own risk because it is an enemy territory and there is no way of differentiating them from the terrorists,” one local intelligence source said.
“From the information we have been receiving the death toll is much higher than 20.”
Local fisherman Labo Sani told AFP by telephone that the jet strike hit Kwatar Daban Masara at around 6 am (0500 GMT), killing around 20 fishermen.
Kwatar Daban Masara which is on the shores of the lake is the “gateway to ISWAP’s camps on several islands” and a supply route for the jihadists, said Sani from nearby Daban Masara.
Another fisherman, Sallau Arzika, said the fighter jet struck the village “killing many of our people who are there for fishing”.
“The initial death toll was around 20, but the figure has been increasing with the deaths of many of the injured,” Arzika said.
News of the incident was slow the emerge due to limited telecommunications in the region.
A Nigerian air force spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking confirmation or comment.
The intelligence source who works with anti-jihadist militia in the region said the strike was based on “credible information” of a gathering of ISWAP fighters in the village since Wednesday.
He said aerial surveillance and reports from other sources revealed terrorists were amassing in Kwatar Daban Masara and it was obvious they were planning an attack, the source said.
According to another security source, the village was subjected to surveillance in the past 10 days after scores of men suspected to be foreign fighters arrived in several vehicles and were ferried to camps inside the lake.
“It was a preemptive strike to destroy whatever plans the terrorists were making,” said the security source.
“You don’t expect an innocent civilian to be at that location and whoever is found is certainly part of the terrorists,” he said.
On September 16 a Nigerian airstrike on a village in nearby Yobe state killed at least nine civilian residents, according to officials.
The Nigerian air force said at the time its fighter jet was pursuing a group of jihadists in the area and it was investigating the incident.
Since 2009, Nigeria’s armed forces have battled a grinding jihadist insurrection in the northeast that has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced nearly two million from their homes.
The conflict spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to end the violence.
In January 2017 at least 112 people were killed when a fighter jet struck a camp housing 40,000 people displaced by violence in Rann near the border with Cameroon.
The Nigerian military blamed “lack of appropriate marking of the area” for the bombardment in a report it issued six months later.
In July 2019 at least 13 civilians were killed when a Nigerian fighter jet hit Gajiganna village, 50 kilometres from Borno state capital Maiduguri, as it targeted fleeing jihadists after they attacked a nearby base. (AFP)
Ondo, Edo, Bauchi account for 70% of lassa fever cases – NCDC
The latest report of lassa fever from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that as of July 24, 2022, Indo, Edo and Bauchi states contributed 70 percent of the total cases of Lassa fever in the country.
Ondo, Edo and Bauchi recorded of 30 per cent, 26 per cent, and 14 per cent respectively.
It also revealed that between July 18 and 24, new confirmed cases increased to 10 from five the previous week.
Two persons lost their lives during the period under consideration. Therefore, since the beginning of the year, the total confirmed cases of Lassa fever are 857, with 164 total deaths reported.
The NCDC said, “Cumulatively from week 1 to week 29, 2022, 164 deaths have been reported with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 19.1 percent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (23.7 percent).
“In total for 2022, 24 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 99 Local Government Areas.
“Of all confirmed cases, 70 percent are from Ondo (30 percent), Edo (26 percent), and Bauchi (14 percent) states. The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 0 to 90 years, median age: 30 years). The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.8.
“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021. One new Healthcare worker affected in Ondo State.
“National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to coordinate the response activities at all levels.”
To reduce the risk of the spread of Lassa fever, the NCDC offers the following advice: Ensure proper environmental sanitation – that is, keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entering; Cover your dustbins and dispose of refuse properly. Communities should set up dumpsites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes; Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize, etc in containers that are well covered with tight-fitting lids.
Others are – Avoid drying foodstuffs outside on the floor, roadside where they will be exposed to contamination; Avoid bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings; Eliminate rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means; Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water or use of hand sanitisers when appropriate, and visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, and avoid self-medication.
Insecurity: FG urged to seek foreign help
The Federal Government of Nigeria has been advised to seek foreign help urgently in order to tackle the problems of insecurity in the country.
According to a statement by a renowned socio-political activist and critic, Chief Adesunbo Onitiri, this became very imperative to enable Nigerians to live in peace.
He also called on the government to declare a state of emergency on insecurity in order to tackle the problem with all the seriousness it deserved.
Onitiri said the only option left was to urgently seek foreign assistance.
“We wake up daily to hear news of our youths, women, and citizens being raped, kidnapped, maimed, and killed.
“While the country is in a state of war with the bandits, our students are out of school for over five months. All our higher institutions are under lock and key. This is unacceptable to Nigerians,” Onitiri lamented.
Onitiri explained that the Kuje Prison and the Kaduna military formations attacks were sour in the mouth. “It’s like our sovereignty as a nation has been eroded.”
164 Die Of Lassa Fever As Cases Jump To 857
THE Lassa fever cases in Nigeria have jumped to 857 and 164 people have so far died from the disease in the first seven months of 2022.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said this in its latest Lassa fever situation report for week 29, which showed that there were 857 confirmed cases of the disease in the country.
The NCDC said that the cases were distributed across 24 states and 99 local government areas in the country.
It said that 54 healthcare workers had been infected with the disease.
“A breakdown indicated that of all confirmed cases, Ondo has 30 per cent Edo, 26 per cent and Bauchi 14 per cent states.
“In week 29, the number of new confirmed cases increased from five in week 28, 2022 to cases. These were reported from Edo and Ondo States.
“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 29, 2022, 164 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 19.1 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021, 23.7 per cent.
“In total for 2022, 24 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 99 Local Government Areas. Of all confirmed cases, 70 per cent are from Ondo, 30 per cent Edo 26 per cent and Bauchi 14 per cent cases.
“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years range: 0 to 90 years, Median Age:30 years. The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.8.
“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021. One new healthcare worker was affected in Ondo State,” it said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted by rats.
It has been known since the 1950s, but the virus was not identified until 1969 when two missionary nurses died from it in the town of Lassa in Nigeria.
Even after recovery, the virus remains in body fluids, including semen. Neighbouring countries are also at risk, as the animal vector for the Lassa virus, the “multimammate rat” (Mastomys natalensis) is distributed throughout the region.
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