By Victor Akaa, Abuja.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), says NAF Alpha Jet aircraft, which was reported missing in Borno State on 31 March 2021 after losing radar contact, was not shot down by Boko Haram terrorists as being speculated in the video footage trending on Social Media as well as some media platforms.
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relation and Information, NAF, in a statement relayed to Enugu Reporters, Friday revealed that one of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including underaged 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.
He said, another part of the video showed a terrorist, who, while standing by the wreckage, claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft.
According to the statement, Although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down.
“For instance, the video clip failed to show the correlation between the sporadic shooting, which even from casual observation was obviously aimed at ground targets, and the sudden mid-air aircraft explosion” he added.
NAF opined that it is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air, in the manner depicted in the video, and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact. Indeed, an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several miles.
“It is obvious that the Boko Haram Sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident that could have been caused by several other reasons; particularly at a time when the capability of the group to inflict mayhem has been significantly degraded by the Armed Forces of Nigeria” the statement said,
NAF noted that investigation is still on to unravel the cause of the missing War aircraft and called on Nigerians to ignore the contents of the video being speculated
The NAF, assured that it remained resolute and will continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, to rid the North East of all terrorist and other criminal elements.
Recalled that there were video footage claiming the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, shot down Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet Aircraft which was declared missing by NAF authorities as a result of losing contact with radar while on surveillance operation in Borno.
The aircraft was on a mission to provide support for ground troops on fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East zone.
In the video, the group also showed fighters carrying RPG and artillery equipment as well as a corpse of one of the two pilots and the debris of the aircraft.
But NAF spokesman, Gabkwet refuted the claims vehemently,calling on all and sundry to disregard the claims stating that it was mischievous and misleading