Nigerian Air Force Reacts to Boko Haram’s Claim of Shooting Down Alpha Jet

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Nigerian Air Force Reacts to Boko Haram’s Claim of Shooting Down Alpha Jet
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The Nigerian Air Force has debunked claims by Boko Haram terrorists that it shot down the missing NAF 476 Alpha Jet, which remains uncounted for after it went off the radar in Borno State.

Reacting to Boko Haram’ claim, the NAF on Saturday stated that the jet had an accident for several reasons, which the military was investigating and was not shot down as shown in the video.

It said the video was doctored by the Boko Haram sect.

The NAF Alpha Jet – a major asset in the onslaught against the insurgents in the North-East went missing on Wednesday evening with the whereabouts of the two pilots on board not known as of Saturday morning.

On Friday, the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram, Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, released a video of it shooting down the missing NAF Jet.

The Boko Haram had in the video claimed its members shot down the jet.

The group had also shown fighters carrying RPG and artillery equipment and a corpse of the pilot and the aircraft’s debris.

In its reaction, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, in a release on Saturday said that the video was doctored and the jet had an accident.

He said, “One of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including under-aged children on motorcycles and vehicles. It later skipped abruptly to a scene depicting an aircraft exploding mid-air, supposedly as a result of enemy action. Another part of the video showed a terrorist who claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft while standing by the wreckage.

“Although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give a false impression that the aircraft was shot down. It is obvious that the Boko Haram Sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was an air accident that several other reasons could have caused; particularly at a time when the Armed Forces of Nigeria have significantly degraded the capability of the group to inflict mayhem.

“Consequently, Nigerians are please advised to ignore the contents of the videos making the rounds until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed are completed. The NAF, on its part, remains resolute and will continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister services and other security agencies, to rid the North East of all terrorist elements.”

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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