2 pilots, 2 crew members killed in helicopter crash -Defence Hqt

…3 officers, 22 soldiers killed in action

Defence Headquarters, on Thursday provided detail on soldiers killed in an ambush and the crash of Nigerian Air Force, NAF, MI17 helicopter on Monday in Niger state.

Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, who addressed newsmen, added that 36 officers and soldiers were involved in the two incidents.

Buba, who read a statement, said: “Sadly, it is no more news that we sustained casualties on August 14, in two separate but related occurrences.

“Troops while conducting offensive operations around Kundu general area in Shiroro LGA of Niger State got into an ambush. Following a fire fight, three officers and 22 soldiers were killed in action, seven soldiers wounded in action.

“Subsequently, the NAF MI-171 Helicopter was dispatched to evacuate the casualties. While out bound to Kaduna, the helicopter crashed with 14 of the earlier killed in action personnel, seven of the earlier wounded in action personnel, two pilots and two crew members of the helicopter.

“Operations are ongoing to recover the bodies and investigate the cause of the air crash which will be communicated. Surely, no group will strike own troops with impunity.”

Investigation will determine cause of crash

On the cause of the helicopter crash, he said: “The investigation will determine the cause of the crash. As I speak, troops are advancing to the location.

“As soon as we get the facts, we will make the result of the investigations known. But note that no one, no group will strike at own troops without consequences,” he added.

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Director of NAF Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who also spoke on the crash, said: “At this moment, we don’t know what caused that aircraft to come down. That is why we keep advising out citizens to be weary of what they send out on social media.

“You are inadvertently helping terrorists to spread propaganda. What do you gain from that.

“Criminal elements cannot be using the name of religion to kill our soldiers, destroy our communities, attack our women and create situations of IDPs and citizens are happy sending their videos all around.

“Are we saying we want the criminals to continue attacking our communities?”

Nigerians should not help terrorists spread propaganda, fear

Pleading with Nigerians not to give in or help terrorists and criminal elements spread propaganda and fear, Gabkwet, said: “Accidents in military operations is nothing that any military organisation should be ashamed of.

“What we see in other countries when such occur is that the citizens rally round their armed forces,” he added.

Further speaking on operations conducted by troops in the Zungeru area of the state, Buba said: “Overall, troops recovered 108 weapons and 564 ammunition made up of 22 AK47 rifles, one PKT gun, siz pump action guns, four dane guns, one fabricated rifle, one galil ace rifle, one RGP bomb, one RPG tube, 44 hand grenades, 322 rounds of 7.62mm special, 63 rounds of 12.7mm ammo, 12 rounds of 5.6mm ammo, 33 AK47 magazines, one empty case of 7.62mm special and three empty magazines.”

Other items, according to him, include 14 motorcycles, 16 mobile phones, three Motorola radio, one boafeng radio, two motorcycle tyres, five touch lights, two solar panels, 104 livestock and the sum of N2.896million.

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