Nigerian Air Force helicopter crashes

Military authorities have dismissed suggestions that a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter which crashed in Borno State yesterday while searching for the missing Chibok schoolgirls was shot down by Boko Haram.
While carrying out surveillance, an Mi-35 helicopter crashed in the Bama area of Borno State, leading to the death of two of the three-man crew. Defence headquarters spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade, said that the helicopter developed a technical fault and was not brought down by enemy fire.
He added: “One of the pilots of the crashed Nigerian Air Force Mi-35 helicopter on a training mission has been recovered alive while the second one as well as the technician on board the three-member crew flight died in the crash.  It is established that the crash is not as a result of any enemy action and the rescue is ongoing.”
Nigeria has been waging an offensive in the northeast since May last year aimed at crushing the Boko Haram insurgency and of late, Nigeria’s Air Force (NAF) has stepped up its flights in the region as it searches for the Chibok pupils kidnapped in April.
While Boko Haram is known to have anti-aircraft weapons technically capable of bringing down a helicopter, there was no immediate evidence suggesting the helicopter was brought down by force.
Military commentators have criticised NAF’s operations as failing to significantly weaken Boko Haram, with the group relentlessly targeting civilians and the security forces across the region. Bama is one of the areas attacked repeatedly by the Islamist insurgents and despite the increased surveillance, their activities have not been brought to a halt.
Since the abduction of the girls on April 14, several foreign powers, including the US, UK, France and Israel have all offered technical assistance to Nigeria to help with the search.
Despite several spy planes being used, there has been no definitive sighting of the camps where Boko Haram is holding them.
Credit: Nigeria Watch

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