A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft was shot down by bandits on Sunday, July 18, 2021.
Bandits shoot down Airforce fighter jet
The pilot made an escape as bandits rained bullets.
NAF spokesperson, Edward Gabkwet, says the military jet was attacked while returning from an air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna States.
Gabkwet adds that the pilots and all other occupants were rescued, and that the jet's pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, made an escape from the aircraft as the bandits rained bullets.
"Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset," Gabkwet says.
He adds that; “Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.
“It is instructive to note that upon receipt of the news of the crash, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had directed that all efforts must be emplaced to rescue the pilot.
"Accordingly, NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships provided close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops who were able to locate the crash site and the pilot’s parachute, while also combing nearby locations for any sign of the pilot.
"It is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location."
Nigeria has been battling terrorists and bandits in its northern region for more than a decade.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative business for bandits in this region.
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