The Nigeria Air Force
A Nigerian air force helicopter being used to bomb Boko Haram members has crashed.
The crash was confirmed by the air force spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola.
Mr Daramola, an air commodore, said details of the cause of the crash are “still scanty.”
One possibility is that the helicopter could have been shot down by the insurgents who are known to possess anti-aircraft guns.
“Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Helicopter was lost in combat while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State,” Mr Daramola said.
“The mission was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
“The incident, occurred about 7:45 pm today, 2 January 2019. 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.”
Attacks by air force aircraft have helped Nigerian troops in tough battles against Boko Haram. It was such attacks that helped in the recent battle in Baga where Boko Haram soldiers virtually overran a military base. A senior air force official later told PRNigeria, a news agency with close ties to the military, that the soldiers withdrawal from the base was “tactical” to allow air force aircraft bombard the insurgents who gathered there thinking they had taken over the base.
Despite the efforts of security forces of Nigeria and neighbouring countries, the Boko Haram terrorists have continued to carry out attacks on civilians and security formations, particularly in Borno and Yobe states.
Following the renewed attacks, the Borno State Government held a recent enlarged security council meeting where the governor expressed concern about the security situation and charged security forces and civilian militia to work harder to contain the terrorists.
The defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali, also visited Maiduguri on Wednesday at the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari to assess the situation.