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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has confirmed that an Alpha Jet aircraft was shot down by bandits on Sunday.
Multiple reports on Sunday had announced the crash but the military authorities denied.
Making a u-turn with a statement on Monday, Spokesman of NAF, Edward Gabkwet, said the aircraft was attacked while returning from an air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna States.
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the pilot identified as Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo survived after he successfully ejected from the aircraft.
“On 18 July 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.
“Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft.
“Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset,” the statement read in part.
It added that the pilot was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds by using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.
The NAF assured that despite the setback of the crash, it remains committed to fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate as well as other constitutional roles assigned to it.
“The willingness, readiness, and tested ability of the NAF remain unshaken and unwavering as it continues to carry out its assigned roles,” the NAF said.