A shocking incident has unfolded in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State as a suspected notorious terrorist, Dogo Gide, and his group claimed responsibility for the downing of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter near Chukuba Ward. The previously lesser-known group gained prominence after releasing a viral video allegedly recorded at the site of the helicopter crash, asserting their involvement in the tragic accident.
The chilling video, lasting less than three minutes, showcases armed terrorists declaring responsibility for the incident and proclaiming that they targeted soldiers on the aircraft. The footage revealed 11 bodies, some in camouflage attire, and displayed the wreckage of the aircraft with the inscription “NAF 582.”
In the video, the narrator stated: “These are bodies belonging to soldiers of the Nigerian Army who attacked us with the intention of causing us harm. This is their airplane. Repent, we have no business with anyone except those who try to come for us. This is God’s work. We used an AK-47 to bring down this plane.”
The terrorist group warned leaders who deployed soldiers against them to repent and suggested that their intention was not to kill, but to instill fear and enlightenment.
Residents of the area recounted hearing continuous gunshots and observing the helicopter under fire. Simon Bulus, a resident, disclosed that the Dogo Gide terrorist group operates within the forested regions of the locality.
The Nigerian Air Force MI-171 helicopter that crashed was en route from Zungeru, Niger State, to Kaduna. Tragically, the incident claimed lives.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu extended his condolences to the families of those affected by the crash. However, contrary to the terrorist group’s claim, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, attributed the crash to adverse weather conditions. He cited seasonal weather challenges as well as the impact of cloud cover on strike capabilities.
During a condolence visit by Niger State Governor, Umar Bago, Abubakar asserted, “The fact is that, as long as we operate, fly airplanes, there would be incidents and accidents.”
The incident highlights the complexities faced by security forces in the region and the ongoing challenges they encounter in their operations. The claim made by the terrorist group and the official response underscore the gravity of the situation and the need for continued vigilance in addressing security concerns.
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