Missing NAF fighter jet: Boko Haram claims responsibility

…Video shows shoot-down of jet

Boko Haram terrorists have claimed responsibility for the casualty on the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Alpha jet.

Picture caption: A fighter with an RPG-backed Boko Haram gun truck

A video showing the downing of an Alpha Jet that exploded mid-air has been released yesterday by the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau.

In the seven minutes, 30 seconds video, the Alpha Jet can be seen flying low over a battlefield arena, with multiple Boko Haram fighters engaging in fierce and uncoordinated firefights.

Picture caption: A Boko Haram fighter armed with a machine gun stands on the aircraft debris

The insurgents could be seen firing what was likely a heavy machine gun (anti-aircraft gun) towards the combat aircraft. Then the footage of a fireball explosion could be seen, as the Alpha Jet headed rapidly towards the ground.

Picture caption: Alpha Jet spiraling to the ground.

Some fighters subsequently moved to the area of the crash and began removing components of the aircraft and the pilots’ personal belongings.

A masked fighter armed with a belt-fed machine gun standing on the aircraft debris, and speaking both Arabic and English was also seen in the video.

Multiple Boko Haram fighters had gun trucks, motorcycles, AK-pattern rifles, belt-fed machines and what appeared to be at least one OTO Melara M56 105mm Howitzer-improvised into a mobile artillery system and Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (SBVIEDs) type vehicle.

Picture caption: Possible debris from missing jet

The Alpha Jets are usually equipped with Soviet rocket pods and unguided bombs used for targeting ground targets.

Recall that the aircraft got missing on Wednesday, while on a combat operation in the Sambisa forest area of Borno State, the epic-centres of the Boko Haram insurgency. The Alpha Jet was conducting a routine mission in support of ground troops

Earlier yesterday, the NAF, in a statement by its spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said that the aircraft “might have crashed”.

He said intelligence report gathered by the NAF indicates that the warplane that went off the radar with two crew members, Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele, on board, adding that the cause of the crash was still unknown.

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