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Doubts trail Boko Haram claims on missing NAF fighter jet

The two terrorists alluded that they took down the aircraft, but some experts have expressed doubt over the capacity of the sect to do what…

There have been doubts about about the video released by a faction of the Boko Haram insurgents claiming responsibility for the missing jet of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

Two Boko Haram fighters who spoke in English and Hausa languages described what happened to the aircraft as “another success from God.”

The video was released hours after the NAF announced the names of the two missing crew members in the ill-fated aircraft, which officials said crashed while on a mission in the North-East.

The jet, which was deployed against the sect in Borno State, lost contact with radar on Wednesday evening.

The two terrorists alluded that they took down the aircraft, but some experts have expressed doubt over the capacity of the sect to do what it claimed, given the distance of the jet in the sky.

“Anything can happen, but I think the jet had a technical problem mid-air and crashed.

“Bringing down an aircraft such as the one we saw will require serious precision and a ballistic missile; it was not a helicopter. But the fact that it went in flames mid-air showed that something happened,” Abubakar Ismail, a security expert, who also reviewed the video said.

Also, a top government security source said the video released by the Boko Haram was doctored for propaganda purposes.

“The first part of the video showing the sky is a re-enactment of a movie from the Arab-Israel War. When you look at it critically, the quality is not the same as the latter part of the video which showed a man on top of the wreckage of the NAF aircraft.

“What I can tell you is that the aircraft crashed but not from hostile fire. It was because of some technical issues,” he said.

But another source said the terrorists brought down the aircraft.

“What happened was that ground troops had attacked insurgents’ enclave at the heart of Sambisa Forest and the aircraft was there to support them.

“It was in the course of air interdiction that the terrorists targeted the plane and it fell,” the source said.

The video, which credible sources released to Daily Trust, showed different scenes with one of them displaying the corpse of a dead pilot by the charred remains of the plane.

Another scene showed the aircraft in flames.

Before the remains of the plane was shown in the seven minutes thirty seconds footage, some Boko Haram fighters were seen moving along a dusty road in gun trucks and on motor bikes with some of them carrying rocket launchers and others AK47 rifles.

The video also showed that the aircraft exploded in the air before it crashed.

Towards the end of the footage, a masked insurgent climbed a wreckage of the aircraft and pointed his gun into the sky.

He said, “The Nigerian Air Force jet fighter with plate number 475 was sent to Sambisa to fight the Mujahideen.

“There is no one that can fight God. This is the evidence of what God has done. There is no way you will fight his people and this will not happen. The only way for you now is to repent. That is the only way out,” he said in English.

The military is yet to react to the claim of the insurgents, but earlier on Friday, Edward Gabkwet, the spokesperson of the NAF, disclosed in a statement, the identities of the pilots, but stated that their whereabouts were unknown.

According to the statement, “Intelligence report gathered by the NAF indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on March 31, 2021 might have crashed.

“The cause of the crash and whereabouts of the two pilots remain unknown. The pilots are Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele. Extensive search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by the NAF surveillance aircraft, as well as special forces and the Nigerian Army troops on ground. At this point, the NAF is not ruling out anything regarding the incident. It, however, remains hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued.”

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