Missing Fighter Jet May Have Crashed, Two Pilots Unaccounted for – Air Force

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet which went off the radar during a Boko Haram operation in the North-East on Wednesday may have crashed.

Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force on Friday said the jet might have crashed although the whereabouts of the jet or the two pilots on board remain unknown.

According to SaharaReporters, military sources said the jet crashed in the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, although the NAF has not confirmed any location.

Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the Chief of Air Staff, arrived in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Thursday to coordinate the ongoing search and rescue mission for the Alpha Jet which got lost during the Boko Haram combat mission in the North-East.

Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information expressed the belief that the air force still believed the two pilots would be found and rescued.

In an update on Friday morning, he said, “Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on March 31, 2021, might have crashed.

“The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots remain unknown. The pilots are Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.

“Extensive search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on the ground.

“At this point, the NAF is not ruling out anything regarding the incident. It however remains hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued.”

The fighter jet went missing 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 light attack jet and advanced jet trainer aircraft has been vital in Nigeria’s counter-insurgency campaign in the North-East theatre of operation.

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.

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