Bandits Can't Gun Down Air Craft With AK47 Rifle - NAF
NAF Spokesperson, Edward Gabkwet

Bandits Can’t Gun Down Aircraft With AK47 Rifle – NAF

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The Nigeria  Air Force (NAF) has countered the claim by a notorious terrorist group that it was responsible for shooting down a NAF helicopter on a rescue mission in Niger State on Monday.

The terrorist group linked to one Abdullahi Abubakar, popularly known as Dogo Gide claimed to have shot down the NAF helicopter with AK47 rifles.

In a video that has now gone viral, some men said to be working with Gide were seen celebrating, with a voice speaking in Hausa narrating how they shut down the helicopter.

Military authorities had earlier issued a statement saying that the helicopter crashed while on a casualty evacuation mission near Chukuba village near Shiroro in Niger State.

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Bandits have been terrorizing many parts of Niger State in recent times.

The video clip showed dead bodies of soldiers and civilians and a wreckage of an aircraft inside a forest.

The voice in the video was heard praising Allah for their purported success in shooting down the aircraft.

However, reacting to the claims of the terrorists in the viral video, the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who appeared on TVC Journalist Hangout on Wednesday evening, said it is not possible for the terrorists to have succeeded in shooting down a jet flying at 5,000 feet above the ground with AK47 rifle.

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Gabkwet said Nigerian Air Force deployed its aircraft to evacuate some soldiers who were killed and wounded from Niger State. He said the evacuation operation involved picking up about 12 dead bodies and seven injured soldiers specifically from Zungeru Primary School in Niger State and headed to Kaduna when the incident happened.

According to him, when the aircraft didn’t arrive in Kaduna as expected, the Chief of Air Staff immediately directed that a dispatch team should go and search along the route and unfortunately, it was discovered that the aircraft had crashed.

“We are talking about an aircraft that was probably flying at about 5000 feet. From the point of pickup of these colleagues of ours that lost their lives and were injured to the point of that accident scene, we are talking about 90 kilometers. So for an aircraft taking off from a particular point and traveling for 90 kilometres you can imagine that it should be flying at a height of about 5000 feet.

“So, when you now factor in all of these things, you have to also consider what kind of weapons can have a very massive effect on that aircraft.

“As of today, we cannot confirm that that aircraft was shut down by anybody,” Gabkwet stated.

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The NAF spokesperson said what is circulating on social media is not true and urged Nigerians to support the armed forces in decimating the criminals by giving useful intelligence instead of helping them spread their terrorist acts on social media.

 He maintained that if the criminals have the kind of weapons that can shoot down an aircraft or actually shut down the NAF helicopter as claimed, they would have shown a video of how it was done.

“I trust the kind of criminals we have. If they have that capability or they did that particular operation, I’m sure a video showing them aiming at that aircraft and the act of coming down. But what are we seeing? We’re only seeing pictures of somebody walking around to what looks like an aircraft and dead bodies around. That is just all, we cannot confirm and say that yes, indeed, this is a Nigerian Air Force aircraft or if this is, in fact, an aircraft that was brought down by the terrorists.

“We don’t want to speculate and begin to say it was caused by this and that, and that is why an investigation is currently on the way to make sure that we unravel what actually happened.

” We would like to appeal to Nigerians to be patient. Until we get to the bottom of the situation, we’re not going to neither deny nor accept that this is particularly what is being done,” NAF spokesperson said.

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