Boko Haram claims responsibility for missing Air Force jet, releases video of dead pilot

…military dismisses claim

The Boko Haram sect has claimed responsibility for bringing down the missing Jet of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

The jet deployed against the sect in Borno State evening lost contact with radar on Wednesday evening.

The sect said it took down the aircraft but some experts have expressed doubt that Boko Haram has the capacity to do what it claimed, given the distance of the jet to the position were the insurgents were.

Edward Gabkwet, spokesperson of NAF, had disclosed the identities of the pilots but said their whereabouts were unknown.

But on Friday, Boko Haram released a video of the destroyed jet.

The video, which credible sources released to Daily Trust, showed the corpse of one of the dead pilots.

In the seven minutes, thirty seconds footage, Boko Haram fighters were seen moving along a dusty road, in gun trucks and on motor bikes.

The video showed that the aircraft exploded in the air before it crashed.

Towards the end of the footage, a masked insurgent climbed a wreckage of the aircraft and pointed his gun into the sky

“The Nigerian Air Force jet fighter with plate number 475 was sent to Sambisa to fight the Mujahideen.

“There’s no one that can fight God. This is the evidence of what God has done. There’s no way you will fight his people and this will not happen. The only way for you now is to repent. That’s the only way out,” he said in impeccable English.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has dismissed claim by terrorist group Boko Haram that it shot down its Alpha Jet.

Spokesperson for the Air Force, Edward Gabkwet, in a statement released late Friday evening said results from the preliminary analysis of the videos did not confirm the claim of Boko Haram.

The Air Force spokesperson accused Boko Haram of deliberately doctoring the videos to show that the air craft was shot down in “its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda”

He also picked holes in the video to prove his claims that the terrorists have deliberately manipulated them to give a false impression that they shot down the aircraft.

The Air Force had in an earlier statement indicated that the jet might have crashed

Read the full statement below

CRASHED NAF ALPHA JET AIRCRAFT WAS NOT SHOT DOWN BY BOKO HARAM

The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to some videos being circulated on Social Media, as well as media reports drawn therefrom, alleging that the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft, which was reported missing in Borno State on 31 March 2021 after losing radar contact, was shot down by terrorists. One of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including underage 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, while standing by the wreckage, claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft.

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. In addition, 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.

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.

EDWARD GABKWET

Air Commodore

Director of Public Relations and Information

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