Local fishermen claim recovery of Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet that went missing while bombing Boko Haram
The parts of an aircraft suspected to be the missing Nigeria Air Force fighter jet,which went missing during routine operations in the northern part of Adamawa State on September 12, were discovered in the River Benue by local fishermen.
The fishermen said they found the aircraft at Kwa Ine Village, Demsa Local Government, Adamawa State about 50 Kilometers away from Yola, the state capital.
A local fisherman in the area, Audu Vrati, suggested the airplane parts may belong to the missing Alpha Jet.
“At the time it crashed, the level of water in the river was high occasioned by the rainy season and the fishermen were able to see it now because the volume of water had receded,” Mr. Vrati explained.
The whereabouts of the missing Alpha Jet had become a subject of conjectures following the inability of the Nigeria Air Force to tell Nigerians what actually happened to the fighter jet.
Boko Haram insurgents later claimed shooting the aircraft down in a video in which they appeared to slaughter one of the pilots of the missing Alpha Jet.
Mr. Vrati said already security operatives had cordoned off the place and were preventing people from visiting the scene of the discovery.
The Nigerian Air Force aircraft went missing on September 12.
The aircraft, an Alpha Jet-E (NAF 466) was involved in the counter insurgency operation against the extremist Boko Haram sect.
The military had said in a statement early Sunday that the jet went missing while on a mission in Adamawa State.
The aircraft “left Yola at about 10:45a.m on 12 September 2014 on a routine operational mission and was expected back by 12:00 noon,” the spokesperson of the Defence Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, said.
“Since then, all efforts to establish contact with the aircraft have not yielded any positive result.”
But at a point, there were speculation that the wreckage of the jet was found in an Adamawa community called Lala,
Gombi Local Government Area. But the spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force, Dele Alonge, said the claims were untrue.
Mr. Alonge, an Air Commodore, said the search and rescue team acted on the speculation, but the aircraft was not found there.
Mr. Alonge could not be reached Tuesday afternoon to comment on the latest report on the recovery of the plane. He did not answer or return calls made to his telephone.
The spokesperson of the Defence headquarters, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, said he would made enquiry about the reports and revert. He is yet to do so as at the time of publishing this report.
Source: By Iro Dan Fulani, 4 November 2014 (premiumtimesng.com)