The helicopter crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, announced this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
” It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of the five crew members who were on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M Helicopter which crashed in combat yesterday while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno.”
He listed the names of the crew members as:
Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – Pilot in Command.
Flight Lt- Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – Co-Pilot.
Sgt. Auwal Ibrahim – Flight Technician.
Lance Corporal Adamu Nura – Gunner.
Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael – Gunner.
” These gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland, for which the NAF and indeed the entire nation, owe them an unending debt of gratitude.
” The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the families of the fallen heroes and prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.
” The CAS was in Maiduguri today, Jan. 3 to convey the condolences of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammed Buhari, to personnel of the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE over the unfortunate loss.
” While in Maiduguri, the CAS also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
” The NAF appreciates the overwhelming support shown by the general public to the service over the sad incident.
” We continue to solicit your understanding and support as we daily strive to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.