Robbers’ heavy artillery caused a Nigerian fighter jet to crash in the northwestern part of Zamfara, but the pilot was ejected from the plane.
The Nigerian Air Force said on Monday that the crash occurred on Sunday, when a light attack aircraft Alpha jet was returning to base from a mission from the Zanfala-Kaduna border.
An Air Force statement stated that the jet “was crashed by heavy enemy fire,” but the pilot Abayomi Dairo successfully ejected.
“Fortunately, the brave pilot…successfully ejected from the plane,” said Air Force spokesman Edward Gabquet.
“The pilot used his survival instinct to avoid the bandits under the fierce ground fire, and took refuge in nearby settlements and waited for the sunset.”
The pilot found his way to the military base where “he was finally rescued”.
False liability statement
A video of the armed group Boko Haram responsible for the attack was circulated on the Internet, but it turned out to be fake because it was recorded in April.
Boko Haram and its secessionist Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have been launching attacks in northwestern Nigeria for many years.
But there are also other criminal groups operating in the area. They are called “bandits” by the government, specifically for kidnapping school children for ransom.
According to the UN refugee agency, armed groups have forced nearly 2.4 million people in Nigeria and neighboring countries to flee.
The government increasingly turned to the Air Force to fight thieves. The Air Force stated that in the past two weeks, daily and nightly flights over Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina states have “eliminated” hundreds of bandits.
This is the first time an armed group active in the area has shot down a military aircraft.
In May, 11 military officers including Lieutenant General Ibrahim Atahiro, the highest commander of the army, were killed when their plane crashed in bad weather in nearby Kaduna State.
President Mohamedu Buhari is a former army general who was first elected in 2015, and his government is facing increasing pressure on allies and critics to deal with the growing security problems of Africa’s most populous country.