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The identities of the two pilots in the Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet which went missing in the North-East on Thursday has been given as Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.
The NAF in an update issued on Friday by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said the location of the two pilots remains unknown.
Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the Chief of the Air Staff, on Thursday arrived in Maiduguri, Borno State to coordinate the ongoing search and rescue mission for the missing Alpha Jet which was lost during the Boko Haram combat mission in the North-East.
Gabkwet said, “The air chief arrived in Maiduguri on Thursday morning, where he was briefed on ongoing search and rescue efforts in connection with the missing Alpha Jet aircraft.”
He urged the pilots, engineers and technicians to remain undeterred and resolute in their commitment to ensuring that peace returns to the North-East.
The fighter jet went off the radar on Wednesday around 5 pm, amidst fears that it might have been captured or shot down by the Boko Haram terrorists – who are now being aided by a more deadly faction, the Islamic State West African Province fighters.
The NAF also in a release confirmed the missing Alpha Jet, noting that the details of the whereabouts of the aircraft were still sketchy.
“A NAF Alpha-Jet has lost contact with radar in Borno State, while on interdiction mission in support of ground troops. The mission was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East. The loss of radar contact occurred at about 5:08 pm on 31 March 2021.
“Details of the whereabouts of the aircraft or likely cause of contact loss are still sketchy but will be relayed to the general public as soon as they become clear. Meanwhile, search and rescue efforts are ongoing,” Gabkwet has stated.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.