Togolese army says its strike killed seven civilians who were mistakenly identified as militants on the move.

[File] Togolese army said that
[File] Togolese army said that "everything possible" would be done "to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again". (AFP)

Togo’s army has said it was responsible for an air strike that killed seven civilians and wounded two more, after mistaking them for militants.

The explosion happened on Saturday in the northern Tone prefecture near the border with Burkina Faso, where militants linked to Daesh and Al Qaeda are active.

Togo's troops are deployed in the area to try and contain a spillover of the threat towards coastal West Africa.

A medical source told Reuters that all of the victims were between the ages of 14 and 18. Local media reported that they were on their way home from celebrations of the Muslim holiday Eid al Adha when they were suddenly killed.

The army said Sunday 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.

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'Mistakenly identified' as militants

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.

Source: Reuters