Airstrike Mistake Led To Death Of Civilians Thought To Be Jihadists

( According to reports, an airstrike carried out by the Togolese Army on Saturday, July 8 inadvertently killed a group of civilians.

In a statement last Thursday, army officials admitted that the civilians, all teenagers, that were killed in northern Togo were hit by an airstrike after the army mistook them for a column of jihadists.

According to Reuters, a medical source in the region confirmed that all of the victims were between the ages of 14 and 18. The teenagers were on their way home from celebrating the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha when they were killed in the airstrike.

On Thursday, Army chief Dadja Maganawe said that during a counter-terrorist operation, an aircraft on night patrol mistook the civilians for a “column of jihadists on the move” and targeted the group for a strike. Maganawe said the Togolese armed forces expresses its “profound regret for this tragedy.

The Togolese army had previously claimed that seven civilians were killed and two injured due to an explosion in the village of Margba.

The airstrike occurred in the northern Savanes region of Togo where a state of emergency was declared in June due to an increased threat from Islamic militant groups spreading south from neighboring Burkina Faso.

The Togolese armed forces said it had been acting on intelligence that armed militants were planning to wage attacks in the Savanes region.

And they were.

Local activists said on Friday that armed militants killed at least twelve civilians in overnight raids on villages in northern Togo.

Last Friday’s raids were the deadliest in the region to date, topping a May ambush that killed eight soldiers.

The Mali-based al-Qaida-linked group Jamaa Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin claimed responsibility for Friday’s raids.