The Nigerian Airforce has admitted that a fighter jet was shot down by bandits, adding that the pilot was rescued.
There was a report of the crash on Sunday, July 18, but this was denied. NAF spokesperson, Edward Gabkwet, said the air force was still trying to get the report of the incident.
The incident has now been confirmed.
Confirming the crash in a statement on Monday, July 19, Gabkwet said the fighter jet was returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states when it came under heavy fire from bandits and crashed in Zamfara.
The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft before it crashed. When he landed, the armed bandits gave him a hot chase but he was able to find refuge and escape to a safe location.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet, said: “On July 18, 2021, around 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states, 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.
“Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.
“It is instructive to note that upon receipt of the news of the crash, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had directed that all efforts must be emplaced to rescue the pilot.”
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