Bandits shoot down Airforce fighter jet, pilot escapes

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•NAF Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo NAF officers after his rescue

ABUJA – The has announced the shooting down its fighter jets by Zamfara State but disclosed the was rescued.

This is contrary to its earlier statement on Sunday denying report crash NAF Fighter Jet. The report on Sunday had suggested the crash took place Kaduna.

However, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian , said a statement on Monday morning, July 19, 2021 : ”On 18 July 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.

“Luckily, the gallant of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft. Using his survival instincts, the , came under intense ground fire from the , 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 ’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.

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 be emplaced to rescue the pilot.

“Accordingly, NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships provided close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops were able to locate the crash site and the pilot’s parachute, while also combing nearby locations for any sign of the pilot.

is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location.

is important to also recall that only recently, , Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari, GCFR, had directed the Armed Forces of Nigeria to do all takes to flush out criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna States.

“It is in fulfilment of this directive that the NAF, in conjunction surface forces, has in the last 2 weeks mounted intensive day and night air interdiction operations against bandits and their hideouts, especially in these 3 states.

“Through these intensive air operations, hundreds of bandits have been neutralised 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 remains unshaken and unwavering as it continues to carry out its assigned roles.”