NAF: Military Aircraft Brought Down After Pilot ‘Came Under Intense Ground Fire From Bandits’

The Nigerian Air Force has confirmed the crash of an Alpha Jet aircraft in Zamfara State.

The air force disclosed this in a statement signed by its Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, on Monday.

Gabkwet said the military jet came under intense gunfire by bandits while it was returning from an air operation between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna States.

He noted that a NAF pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, however escaped “using his survival instincts”.

The statement reads: “The pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset.

“Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued,”

“It is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location.

“It is important to also recall that only recently, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, had directed the Armed Forces of Nigeria to do all it takes to flush out criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna states.

“It is in fulfilment of this directive that the NAF, in conjunction with surface forces, has in the last 2 weeks mounted intensive day and night air interdiction operations against bandits and their hideouts, especially in these three states. Through these intensive air operations, hundreds of bandits have been neutralized and several of their hideouts destroyed.

“Despite the setback of yesterday’s crash, the NAF remains committed to fulfilling Mr President’s mandate as well as other constitutional roles assigned to it. The willingness, readiness, and tested ability of the NAF remain unshaken and unwavering as it continues to carry out its assigned roles”.

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