KIGALI, Rwanda

Twelve people were killed, including four children, and 16 injured when an airstrike by the Nigerian army targeting bandits struck a small village in southern Niger’s Madarounfa district, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Sunday.

“One of these children died shortly after arrival at Madarounfa District Hospital, while two others died after being transferred to the regional hospital in Maradi,” it said in a statement.

A fourth child, aged 20 months, died in the bombing, it said.

Six other people, adults, reportedly died at the scene of the bombing and two more died after being transferred to the hospital in Maradi.

“This is a horrific event, unprecedented in the Madarounfa region,” said Souley Harouna, MSF representative in Niger.

“The teams report that the injured children suffered open fractures and various wounds and post-traumatic injuries. We helped perform first aid before transferring them to the hospital in Maradi, but some of the injured did not survive,” Harouna added.

Quoting the survivors, MSF said a jet first flew over the hamlet of Nachambe near the village of Garin Kaoura in Madarounfa district, located a few kilometers from the Nigerian border.

It then reportedly flew over the hamlet again, dropping ammunition. Survivors affirmed that it was a Nigerian plane pursuing armed men from a border village who had taken shelter in the village school.

The Maradi region has faced violence from heavily armed gangs from the Nigerian states of neighboring Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara.

The gangs reportedly carry out assassinations, kidnappings for ransom and looting cattle, which they take to Nigeria.

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