Nigeria’s Air force Helicopter, carrying weapons, crashes
A Nigerian Air Force helicopter burst into flames midair and crashed near Modibo Adama University of Technology in Yola, Adamawa state, witnesses and the military said on Friday.
The crash — the second to down a military chopper in a week — occurred late Thursday, and initially sparked fears that Nigeria’s feared Boko Haram insurgency was mounting an attack.
There was no immediate information on casualties.
“A chopper belonging to the Nigeria Air Force crashed last night (Thursday) in Yola. But we don’t have details,” air force spokesman Air Commodore Dele Alonge said.
Witnesses said the aircraft was thought to be carrying weapons to troops fighting Boko Haram.
“Two military helicopters flew over the campus and one of them came down close to the fence near the student hostels,” said Kyari Mohammed, a lecturer at the Modibbo Adama University of Science and Technology.
“The crash was followed by series of intermittent explosions inside the chopper, which people believe to be from weapons the chopper was ferrying.”
He said he called the airport, which told him one of the military’s helicopters had crashed.
The explosions caused panic among students, who thought Boko Haram insurgents were on the prowl in the city, which has been repeatedly attacked by the group.
“Suddenly, we heard a huge thundering sound which made us to rush out of the hostels, thinking the school was under Boko Haram attack,” said Harisu Abdulaziz, a student.
Another student who was in the hostel at the time said it caused chaos and soldiers guarding the gates prevented anyone from fleeing.
The city’s university has been under military protection to stop Boko Haram attacks after a spate of school attacks by the Islamist group in the region.
Thursday’s incident came just three days after another military chopper on a training mission crash-landed near Yola airport.
Nigeria’s military has suffered a series of air crashes in the northeast since a state of emergency was imposed in the Adamawa region, of which Yola is tha capital, and two neighbouring states in May last year.
Boko Haram has claimed to have shot down a number of aircraft, including a Nigerian air force jet that went missing in September, again out of Yola. The military denies the assertion.Source: YOLA, NIGERIA — Nov 14 2014 – (thenewsnigeria.com.ng)
Military chopper crashes in northeast Nigeria
A military helicopter crashed and exploded next to a college dormitory in northeast Nigeria, the zone where troops are fighting an Islamic insurgency, the military and witnesses said Friday. All three crew members died, the military said.
Four days ago, the military reported a helicopter safely crash-landed minutes after take-off from Yola International Airport in Adamawa state. Last month Boko Haram Islamic extremists said they shot down a fighter jet and published video showing the beheading of a man friends identified as a Nigerian Air Force pilot. The military said a jet went missing Sept. 11 with two crew.
The United States said Wednesday it had refused to sell Nigeria attack helicopters because of concerns about its ability to use and maintain the aircraft, as well as the military’s failure to protect civilians in the 5-year-old Islamic uprising that has claimed the lives of thousands.
A military statement said the ground attack helicopter on an armed patrol crashed around 10 p.m. Thursday in “the ill-fated accident.”
Witness Habu Mallam said the helicopter fell in a ball of fire near a dorm at Moddibo Adama University of Technology.
A student who identified himself only as Daniel said he saw two helicopters hovering before one stalled and fell out of the sky with a loud explosion that frightened students out of their beds.
Faul reported from Johannesburg. Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria.