– Says video deliberately doctored to give false impression
The Nigerian Airforce, NAF has responded to claims of Boko Haram involvement in fate that befell its aircraft, following a widely circulated video on social media and media reports drawn therefrom, alleging that the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft, which was reported missing in Borno State on Wednesday, 31 March 2021 after losing radar contact, was shot down by terrorists.
In a statement issued yesterday and credited to NAF’s director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, in which he describes the content of one of such videos, NAF posits that although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down.
One of such videos, in particular, the statement said, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including underaged children on motorcycles and vehicles. It later skipped abruptly to a scene depicting an aircraft exploding mid-air, supposedly as a result of enemy action. Another part of the video showed a terrorist, who, while standing by the wreckage, claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft.
Picking holes at the video, Gabkwet said, ‘…there was no correlation between the sporadic shooting, which even from casual observation was obviously aimed at ground targets, and the sudden mid-air aircraft explosion”.
Furthermore, 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. Indeed, an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several miles.
According to the statement, “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; particularly at a time when the capability of the group to inflict mayhem has been significantly degraded by the Armed Forces of Nigeria”.
Consequently, NAF has advised Nigerians to disregard the contents of the videos making the rounds, until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed are completed, while assuring that it remains “resolute and will continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, to rid the North East of all terrorist elements”.