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Authorities Express Doubt Boko Haram Really Downed Fighter Jet

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Authorities Express Doubt Boko Haram Really Downed Fighter Jet

Screengrab from the alleged downing video. Click to see full-size image

On April 2nd, Boko Haram claimed that it had shot down a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet.

This was reported by Reuters, and a video had allegedly been watched by reporters of the outlet.

The loss of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet 475 dealt a blow to Nigeria’s efforts to combat jihadist insurgencies in the Lake Chad area.

This is a worrisome development, since air power was crucial in dealing with Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

Both terrorist groups are fighting for control in the area, as well against any semblance of local authority from the countries in the Lake Chad area.

In Boko Haram’s video, the wreckage of a plane lies burned on the ground, the charred fuselage bearing the phrase “NAF 475.”

A masked fighter stands atop the wreckage and identifies the plane as “jet fighter of the Nigerian Air Force 475”, the footage shows. Later, a mangled corpse is shown in military fatigues.

“As you can see, this is the pilot of your aircraft, whom you sent to harm the servant of god,” the terrorist says. “This is what god did to him. He fell from the sky, and if you do not repent this will be your reward.”

A Nigerian air force spokesman said a statement would be issued soon. The only statement, so far, was released on April 2nd and simply reads the following:

“The Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed. The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots remain unknown.”

There is some doubt that Boko Haram could do what it claimed, given the distance of the jet to the position and the insurgents.

Nigerian Air Force spokesman Edward Gabkwet said in a statement on April 2nd night that most parts of those videos were “deliberately doctored to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down.”

Singling out one such video, Gabkwet said it is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air in the manner depicted in the video and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact.

“It is obvious that the Boko Haram Sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident that could have been caused by several other reasons,” he said.

Authorities Express Doubt Boko Haram Really Downed Fighter Jet

Click to see full-size image

Lake Chad
– On April 2, Boko haram reportedly shot down a Nigerian Army warplane
– Cameroon deployed troops to its northern border with Nigeria after a series of attacks carried out by the terrorist group Boko Haram, according to Cameroon’s military officials

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