A project tracking drone
deaths in Pakistan

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Bibi Mamana

Gender

Female

Age

65-67

Nationality

Pakistani

Reported status

Reported civilian

Civilian occupation

Midwife


Case study

Little is known of Bibi Mamana’s life except that she was in her 60s, a grandmother, the wife of the retired headmaster of the Government High School in Miranshah, and a midwife who ‘delivered hundreds of babies‘ in her community. However the events immediately around her death have been well documented.

According to detailed reporting in The Times and the BBC’s Panorama programme, among others. For days before the strike there had been the constant hum of drones overhead, it was reported. Mamana and several of her grandchildren were outside the family home. She was picking okra, gathering wood for Eid al Adha and tending to livestock when a drone struck.

It is not clear how many missiles were fired. But Mamana’s eight-year-old granddaughter Nabeela (aka Mabeela Rehman) was 20m away from where they hit. She told The Times: ‘I saw the first two missiles coming through the air… They were following each other with fire at the back. When they hit the ground, there was a loud noise. After that I don’t remember anything.’ Nabeela was injured by flying shrapnel.

At the sound of the explosion, Mamana’s grandson Kaleem (aka Kaleemur or Kaleemullah), 18, ran from the house to help his grandmother. But five to seven minutes later the drones struck again, he told the BBC. He was knocked unconscious. His leg was badly broken and damaged by shrapnel, and needed surgery.

Courtesy of Amnesty International
A photograph of a letter to Mamana’s family from the North Waziristan Political Agent – courtesy of Amnesty International

The missiles physically hit Mamana, Amnesty researcher Mustafa Qadri said. ‘She’s literally hit flush and is blown to smithereens.’

A photograph of a letter to Mamana's family from the North Waziristan Political Agent - courtesy of Amnesty International
A photograph of a letter to Mamana’s family from the North Waziristan Political Agent – courtesy of Amnesty International

Atiq, 38, Nabeela’s father and Mamana’s son, was in or was leaving a mosque at the time of the attack. On hearing the blast and seeing the plume of smoke he rushed to the scene. When he arrived he could not see any sign of his mother, he told The Times. He said: ‘My relatives arrived and urged me not to go too close. I started calling out for her but there was no reply. Then I saw her shoes. We found her mutilated body a short time afterwards. It had been thrown quite a long distance away by the blast and it was in pieces. We collected many different parts from the field and put a turban over her body.’

A photograph of a letter to Mamana's family from the North Waziristan Political Agent - courtesy of Amnesty International
A photograph of a letter to Mamana’s family from the North Waziristan Political Agent – courtesy of Amnesty International

Atiq’s brother Rafiq was also away from the house when the missiles hit. He arrived as Mamana’s grave was being dug. Her body was already in a coffin. He told the BBC: ‘I threw myself over her coffin but the box was closed. The family told me not to open it as she had been hit by a missile and her body was in pieces.’

Family members hit in the same blast made the eight-hour bus journey to Peshawar for medical treatment. While there, Atiq showed The Times his mother’s identity card. The family then travelled on to Islamabad for specialist help. There Rafiq showed the BBC Mamana’s passport, pictures of her grave, the spot where they say the missile hit and fragments of the missile.

Rafiq said his mother was ‘the string that holds the pearls together’ to their village, ABC reported. He told Al Jazeera English he received a letter after the strike from a Pakistani official which said the attack was a US drone strike and Bibi was innocent. But nothing more came of it, he said.


Bibi Mamana’s family travelled to Washington DC to share their story with the US Congress (Al Jazeera)

Image: Screengrab from BBC Panorama

Sources and Citations

Villagers and local officials (The News); family and tribesmen (The News); family testimony (BBC Panorama, The Times, Express Tribune, Guardian, Guardian, ABC); witness and family testimony (Amnesty International)

References

Died 24/10/2012

Details of the strike

About the project

CIA drone strikes have killed over 2,500 people in Pakistan; many are described as militants, but some are civilians. This is a record of those who have died in these attacks.

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