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Six months after, we’re still searching for missing Alpha jet –NAF



The Nigerian Air Force has said it is still searching for its Alpha fighter jet, marked NAF 475, which went missing about six months ago. The aircraft was reported missing after losing radar contact with the air force base in Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital on March 31, 2021..

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, at a virtual interaction with select editors on Wednesday, added that the air force was working with its foreign partners to locate the aircraft.

He added that investigation into the accidental air strikes in Yobe State a few weeks ago was also ongoing.

Amao, represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Air Vice Marshal James Gwani, said, “The combat search and rescue for the aircraft brought down in the North-East is still ongoing. It will also interest you to know that we are working with our foreign partners.

“We have had series of meetings at the Air Force headquarters, seeking the support of not only our immediate neighbours but also our strategic partners in trying to locate where that aircraft went down. The process is ongoing and when the airplane is found, we will tell Nigerians.”

The air force had dismissed claims by Boko Haram that it shot down the jet, which was carrying out an operation against the terrorists.

The spokesperson for the Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, had said the cause of the crash and the whereabouts of the two pilots on the jet, Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele, were unknown.

“Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with two crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Air Chief said in the interactive session that security was a collective responsibility and that the Tucano aircraft recently procured by the Federal Government would not win the insurgency war alone.

He said, “Yes, the Super Tucano aircraft have brought in a lot of bite to the fight and I can tell you that as we speak the airplanes are operating in the North-East. I had a meeting with the commander there and the vendors who supplied us the aircraft to review their operations and I can tell you there is a very positive response as to the effectiveness of the operations of the airplanes.

“I also want to clarify that airpower alone cannot win this war. It will take a collective effort, like the Chief of Defence Staff has said. So, while the Super Tucano would play a very prominent role, let us not sit back and think it will end this war. It is going to be a collective effort.”

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