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Nigerian government revises death toll from tragic air strike

Verifying death tolls is notoriously difficult and mostly impossible in the remote region, where access is still strictly controlled by the military.

Bodies covered with blankets are pictured in Rann, northeast Nigeria on January 17, 2017 after an an air force jet accidentally bombarded a camp for displaced people
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"Statistics show that 112 persons died from that incident and 97 others were wounded," said the head of Nigeria's counter-insurgency operations, Major General Lucky Irabor.

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has previously said the death toll from the incident in Rann, Borno state, on January 17, was 90 and could be as high as 170.

The chairman of the Kala-Balge local government area, in which Rann is located, went further, telling reporters 234 people had been buried and two more had died in hospital.

But Irabor told a news conference in the state capital, Maiduguri, had made a mistake.

An air force board of inquiry has been set up to look into the circumstances of the strike, which was meant to target Boko Haram fighters allegedly in the Rann area.

Irabor told reporters a raid by Boko Haram fighters on Rann the day after the bombing, which happened during food distribution for the displaced, showed they were in the vicinity.

"It was just that the coordinates were wrong and that's what led to that very sad incident, and we regret it once again," he added.

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