By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has labeled as false, some videos being circulated on Social Media, as well as media reports alleging that the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft, which was reported missing in Borno State on 31 March 2021 after losing radar contact, was shot down by terrorists.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet in a statement, noted that one of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including underaged children on motorcycles and vehicles, adding that 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, he said, showed a terrorist, who, while standing by the wreckage, claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft.
The Spokesperson who stated that although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, added that it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down.
“For instance, the video clip failed to show the correlation between the sporadic shooting, which even from casual observation was obviously aimed at ground targets, and the sudden mid-air aircraft explosion. In addition, it is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air, in the manner depicted in the video, and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact. Indeed, an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several miles.
“It is obvious that the Boko Haram Sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident that could have been caused by several other reasons; particularly at a time when the capability of the group to inflict mayhem has been significantly degraded by the Armed Forces of Nigeria”, he said.
The Nigerian Air Force advised Nigerians to ignore the contents of the videos making the rounds until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed are completed.
He added that the NAF, remains resolute and will continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, to rid the NorthEast of all terrorist elements.
Recall that the DOPRI had in an earlier statement, said that an Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) indicated that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed.
The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots he said, remained unknown, adding that the pilots are Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.
He disclosed that extensive search and rescue efforts were still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on ground.
“At this point, the NAF is not ruling out anything regarding the incident. It however remains hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued”, he had said.