The Nigerian air force (NAF) has confirmed that five of its troops died in the helicopter crash which occurred at Damasak in Borno state on Wednesday.
The aircraft crashed while providing support to troops of 145 battalion during an operation against Boko Haram insurgents.
According to a statement by Ibikunle Daramola, NAF director of public relations and information, the victims included two pilots and three personnel of the air force.
The deceased were identified as Perowei Jacob, pilot in command; Kaltho Kilyofas, co-pilot; Auwal Ibrahim, flight technician; Adamu Nura, gunner, Meshack Ishmael, gunner.
Daramola said their remains had been deposited in Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to the statement, Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff, was in Maiduguri on Thursday to convey the condolences of President Muhammed Buhari, to personnel of the air task force Operation Lafiya Dole, over the loss.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of the 5 crew members who were on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M Helicopter which crashed in combat yesterday, 2 January 2019, while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State,” the statement read.
“The deceased personnel, whose remains have been recovered to Maiduguri, are:
a. Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – Pilot in Command.
b. Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – Co-Pilot.
c. Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim – Flight Technician.
d. Lance Corporal Adamu Nura – Gunner.
e. Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael – Gunner.
“These gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our Fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire Nation, owes them an unending debt of gratitude. The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the families of the 5 fallen heroes and prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.
“The CAS was in Maiduguri today, 3 January 2019, to convey the condolences of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammed Buhari, to personnel of the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE over the unfortunate loss. While in Maiduguri, the CAS also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
“The NAF appreciates the overwhelming support shown by the general public to the Service over the sad incident. We continue to solicit your understanding and support as we daily strive to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
Editor’s note: This picture was used for illustrative purposes