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Boko Haram Brings Down Air Force Aircraft in Damasak, NAF Loss Pilot, Flight Crew

Scores of BH Killed By NAF Fighter Jet in Damasak... Insecurity Truncates APC Borno North Senatorial Campaigns in Damasak ... Shettima's Visit To Monguno.. May Still Visit Monguno on Security Advice
By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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The Nigerian Air Force aircraft seen at about 10 kilometers away from Damasak town heading towards Damasak town for a combat mission against Boko haram terrorists is confirmed crashed with no survivors on board. The Nigerian Air Force has confirmed tragic death of the pilot and four other crew on board.

Eye witness in villages close to the scene of the accident and Damasak town told The Nigerian Voice on phone that they saw the aircraft burning after a heavy strange sound that reverberated in the area.

One of the eye witness, Burra Goni Kura said," we actually saw the helicopter burning and falling down with black smoke all over apart from the spot of the heavy strange sound.

"It was not at the same spot that the insugents were bombed that the helicopter came down. It was a bit far away from the scene of the heavy sound", Goni said.

While another eye witness, a farmer, Bakura Modu said," initially we did not know what was going on till we saw another plane moving on the air towards the direction of the heavy sound .

"Whitish-black smoke was seen rising up from the scene of the sound".

This followed the NAF confirmation in a press statement issued by NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola around 10.30 pm on Wednesday, on a missing aircraft noting that the helicopter was lost in combat while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State.

It also noted that Northern Borno is a vulnerable area where the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) fighters were attempting to overrun military bases, with attacks on Metele, Mongnuo, Buni Gari and Baga in the latest attempted invasion on December 25, 26 and 27, 2018.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the combat aircraft went missing about 7:45 pm on Wednesday, adding that details of the cause of the crash were still scanty.

He said, “A Nigerian Air Force helicopter was lost in combat while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State. The mission was part of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.

“The incident occurred about 7:45 pm on January 2. Details of the cause of the crash are still scanty. As soon as the details of the crash are known, they will be made available to the public.”

An anonymous military source on Thursday said the aircraft was carrying about five Crew on board when it crashed'.

Another military source said, "the helicopter is not missing, it crashed and nobody knows what really happened to the aircraft but we are suspecting electrical problem and we lost all the people on board", he said.

As the security situation in the Northern part of Borno State hieghtens with continued threats and attacks from Boko Haram insurgents, creating uncertainty of peace and stability in the area since Monday this week, there is need for intensified efforts to contain it. The resurgence of Boko Haram Insurgents from the international borders of Abadam and Guzamala LGC axis which share border with Niger and Chad Republics is becoming worrisome and a serious cause for concern.

Governor kashim Shettima's earlier scheduled trip to Monguno was postponed unceremoniously after the convoy and other political stakeholders in his Entourage were set and ready for the journey.

Similarly, the proposed APC Borno North Senatorial district electioneering campaigns expected to kick start Thursday at Damasak was further truncated by the secuirty challenges as a result of insecurity, the military refused to allow the Governor and his entourage to proceed on their political programme as the Mobbar LGA was not safe with the Wednesday's Boko Haram Insurgents bombings and subsequent crash of the NAF aircraft.

But quickly, governor's hettima shifted the programming to strat from Monguno town rather along with the distribution of relief materials to residents and IDPs in Monguno town and it's environs which are Cross Kawuwa , Kukawa and Guzamala LGAs where the kwaam tribe are the majority population of the Borno North.

Governor kashim Shettima of Borno State was abruptly compelled to postpone an earlier scheduled official working visit to Monguno LGA of Borno state Thursday afternoon till further notice without any explanation.

After his convoy queued up at the Government House Maiduguri from 9 am in readiness for the trip along with mobile police and CJTF escorts, by 12.37 pm, the convoy were asked to fall out and dispersed as the trip has been postponed.

Monguno is the adminstrative Headquarters of Borno North Senatorial District where the real Kanuri People popularly known as Kwaxam tribe reside.

Similarly, reliable sources have disclosed that the trip may still hold if the secuirty situation improves in the coming days.

Ironically, the NAF aircraft took place same Wednesday the day the NAF aircraft was bombing Boko Haram Insurgents who regrouped themselves near the inacessible Baga town where the military task force is located with heavy military equipments and weapons.