A Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Alpha Jet aircraft, has on July 18, at about 12.45 pm crashed in Zamfara State and the Pilot was rescued.
In a release signed by the Director of Public Relations and Information (DPRI), Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet, said that the aircraft was returning from a successful air interdiction mission.
“Between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna States, and came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State”
Gabkwet said that, “The gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft, using his survival instincts.
“The pilot, came under intense ground fire from the bandits, he was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements waiting 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.”
The NAF spokesman said that, “It is instructive to note that upon receipt of the news of the crash, the Chief of Air Staff,(CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had directed that all efforts must be emplaced to rescue the pilot.
“Also, NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships provided close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops who were able to locate the crash site and the pilot’s parachute.
“ While combing nearby locations for any sign of the pilot, it is gladdening to note that while in hiding, the Pilot confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location.”
He added that, “It is important to recall that only recently, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari,, had directed the Armed Forces of Nigeria to do all it takes to flush out criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna States.
“ It is in fulfillment of this directive that the NAF, in conjunction with surface forces, has in the last two weeks mounted intensive day and night air interdiction operations against bandits and their hideouts, especially in these three states.
“Through these intensive air operations, hundreds of bandits have been neutralized and several of their hideouts destroyed.
“Despite the setback of yesterday’s crash, the NAF remains committed towards fulfilling, Mr. President’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.”