Olaleye Aluko, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force has said that the Mi-17 helicopter, which crashed during an operation in the North-East, was not shot down by Boko Haram terrorists as insinuated by Abubakar Shekau, a factional leader of the deadly group, in a new video.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, said this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH,describing Shekau’s statement as a “bare-faced lie.”
It would be recalled that the Air Force’s Mi-17 crashed on January 8, 2018, while in the North-East during a counter-Boko Haram insurgency operation.
Although no life was lost during the incident, the Air Force noted that the helicopter suffered a “significant damage.”
The Air Force had said that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, directed the constitution of a board of inquiry to determine the cause of the incident.
The board had yet to submit its report.
Boko Haram insurgents, had on Monday, released a video, claiming that they were responsible for the crashed helicopter.
Shekau had said, “We hold unto the Chibok schoolgirls; we still have the policewomen. Among the Chibok schoolgirls that insisted on following the ways of their parents’ religion, we allowed them to go back and join their people. The military have come to us, but it did not end well; that is why your helicopter went down; that is why your armoured tanks got destroyed.”
But reacting to the claim by the insurgents, NAF Spokesperson, Adesanya, said, “The Boko Haram did not shoot down the NAF’s Mi-17 helicopter. If that were the case, the public would have been duly informed.
“The NAF remains accountable to the citizenry. This is why we issued a statement immediately after the crash landing of the helicopter, which was on a routine mission in the North-East.