Togolese army mistakenly kills seven teenagers in air raid

LOME— The Togolese Army has confirmed mistakenly killing seven teenagers it mistook for terrorists.

All the victims were aged between 14 and 18.

The incident took place last Saturday evening with media reports in the northern region stating that they were on their way back home from Eid-Al-Adha celebrations.

The army said it had opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this explosion and identify the perpetrators”.

On Thursday, Togo’s armed forces chief of staff General Dadja Maganaw concluded an aircraft had wrongly targeted the civilians in the village of Margba, in Tone prefecture.

General Maganaw said in a statement the army had previously received “intelligence” indicating a threat of “infiltration by armed gangs wanting to conduct terrorist attacks” against local communities.

“Because of the imminent danger,” he said the commander leading an operation code-named Koundjaore “reinforced surveillance as well as ground and aerial control in the area”.

“It was during those operations that an aircraft patrolling at night, unfortunately, targeted a group of people it had mistakenly identified as jihadists on the move,” Maganaw said.

“The Togolese armed forces express their profound regret in the face of this tragedy, and renew their sincere condolences to the families of those affected, and once more, wishes a prompt recovery to those injured.”

He added that “everything possible” would be done “to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again”.

Togo last month declared a state of emergency in its northern prefectures over the threat of militant attacks.

Eight Togolese soldiers were killed in May in an attack in the region.