The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said its Alpha fighter jet, marked NAF 475 was not shot down last Wednesday by Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest of Borno.
The jet was reported missing on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, after losing radar contact with the air force base, Maiduguri, the state capital.
While denying the alleged false report in a statement yesterday in Maiduguri, NAF’s Director of Public Relations, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said: “Our attention has been drawn to some videos being circulated on Social Media and media reports, alleging that the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft, which was reported missing, was shot down by terrorists.
One of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including underage children on motorcycles and vehicles.
“The video later skipped abruptly to a scene depicting an aircraft exploding mid-air, supposedly as a result of enemy action.”
Continuing, he added: “Another part of the video showed a terrorist, who, while standing by the wreckage, claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft.”
He said the video is still being thoroughly analysed, as it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give a false impression that the jet was shot down.
While citing falsehood of video, he said: “The Boko Haram video clip failed to show the correlation between the sporadic shooting. It was obviously aimed at ground targets, which led to a sudden mid-air explosion of the aircraft. It is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air, in the manner depicted in the video,” he said.
He explained that the purported grounded aircraft in the video still has a good part of its fuselage, including its tail intact.
He said an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several kilometres, and that the terrorists, in their characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, are seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident.
He said aircraft crashes could have been caused by several reasons, particularly when the terror group’s capability to inflict mayhem has been significantly degraded by the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged people to ignore the videos making rounds, until investigations of the fighter jet crash are completed.