Panafrican News Agency

Nigerian Air Force says five airmen died in helicopter crash in fight against Boko Haram

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Thursday said that five of its personnel died when one of its helicopter gunships crashed during combat against Boko Haram terrorists in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday.

The five include the pilot, co-pilot, flight technician and two gunners.

NAF Spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said in a statement that the five were on board the Mi-35M helicopter which crashed while providing air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State.

He said that the deceased personnel's remains have been recovered and sent to Maiduguri, the epicentre of Boko Haram terrorism.

According to the NAF Spokesman, "these gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our Fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire Nation, owes them an unending debt of gratitude.

"The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the families of the 5 fallen heroes and prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose," he said.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has also expressed heartfelt condolences to the Nigerian Air Force and relatives of five airmen.

A statement by the Presidential Spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, said that President Buhari, commiserating with the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said it was sad that the fine officers and men lost their lives in the bid to guarantee the safety and protection of their countrymen.

He said rather than dampen the morale of troops fighting insurgency in the north-east, the unfortunate development would rather bolster their resolve to completely eliminate all evildoers within the shortest possible time.

“To the families and relations of the dead, President Buhari condoles with them, noting that the dead officers and men were heroes, who paid the supreme price for peace to reign in the country.”
-0- PANA MON/MA 3Jan2018