The NAF Alpha Jet, a key component of Boko Haram’s air interdiction missions, went missing on Wednesday evening, and the whereabouts of the two pilots on board were unknown as of Saturday morning.
Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau-led group, Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, released footage of it shooting down the missing NAF jet on Friday.
In the video, Boko Haram claims that its members shot down the plane.
Fighters carrying RPG and artillery equipment, as well as the pilot’s body and aircraft debris, were also seen by the party.
However, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, said in a statement on Saturday that the video had been doctored and that the plane had crashed.
He said, “One of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including under-aged children on motorcycles and vehicles. It later skipped abruptly to a scene depicting an aircraft exploding mid-air, supposedly as a result of enemy action. Another part of the video showed a terrorist who claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft while standing by the wreckage.
“Although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give a false impression that the aircraft was shot down. It is obvious that the Boko Haram Sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was an air accident that several other reasons could have caused; particularly at a time when the Armed Forces of Nigeria have significantly degraded the capability of the group to inflict mayhem.
“Consequently, Nigerians are please advised to ignore the contents of the videos making the rounds until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed are completed. The NAF, on its part, remains resolute and will continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister services and other security agencies, to rid the North East of all terrorist elements.”
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