Cover photo is file copy of NAF plane wreckage.
Boko Haram militant group has claimed it shot down a Nigerian fighter jet that went missing earlier this week and which the air force said may have crashed, according to a militant video released on Friday.
The Alpha light attack jet was on a mission to support troops fighting militants in northeastern Borno state when it lost radar contact on Wednesday, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said.
Nigeria’s military have been battling jihadists in the northeast of the country for more than a decade and have recently been fighting them in their stronghold in Sambisa forest in Borno state.
The video, which could not be verified by AFP, was released on a Boko Haram social media channel showing a militant standing on what the group claims is the wreckage of the jet. It shows the Nigerian flag and number NAF 475 on its fuselage.
The Boko Haram video.
“Nigeria air force jet fighter… was sent to Sambisa to fight the Mujahideen,” the militant said.
The air force said on Friday that the jet may have crashed. It said the cause of the crash and the whereabouts of the two crew onboard were unknown.
A report said the aircraft was found on Friday 30Km outside Maiduguri around Abba-Jille in Konduga Local Government.
People around there testified they saw the aircraft flying around Goni Kurmiri and Njimira villages after attacking terrorists at the Sambisa forest area.
There was no word however neither from the Boko Harm sect that claimed to have downed the plane or witnesses on the pilot and his co-pilot
The Nigerian Air Force has dismissed claims by terror group Boko Haram that it gunned down the missing Alpha jet, which disappeared from radar on Wednesday, March 31.
The Director Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the viral video could be clips from a previous incident.
He insisted the video is fraught with inconsistencies that established it was fake, adding the lush vegetation in one of the videos suggest it was not in the Northeast.
NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said: “We have seen some videos but there is nothing that has proven that the aircraft in those clips belongs to us, or have you seen a Nigerian Air Force aircraft number or the body of Air Force pilot or have you seen any Air Force uniform until we get all these details strengthen out, we are not going to go into speculation.
“That video could have been shot somewhere. I have seen four videos so far, one of them has lush vegetation in the background, and I wonder where they have such vegetation in the Northeast. Unless they did something and they are releasing the clips bit by bit, we are waiting.
“Except we have evidence, because like I said, these persons have families and you cannot go their wives, parents or wards, you must bring concrete evidence. There must be something to show”.
“Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on ground,” its statement said.
“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.”
It did not respond immediately to a request for an update on the search.