By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s military has disclosed that three officers and 22 soldiers were killed on August 14 in an ambush laid by armed bandits in Niger State.
Briefing journalists at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja on Thursday, Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba added that seven other personnel were wounded in action.
He said the ill-fated Helicopter that crashed in the Shiriro area of Niger State, was on rescue and evacuation mission before it fell by yet-to-be determined causes.
He added that operations are ongoing to eliminated terrorists in the area, warning that no group can conduct such attrocities and go scot free, and that operations are already ongoing to evacuate the remains of the ill-fated air component.
“Sadly, it is no more news that we sustained casualties on 14 Aug 23 in two separate but related occurrences. It is on this note that on behalf of the CDS, I express our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all those killed in action as a result of the occurrences.
“Troops while conducting offensive operations around Kundu general area in Shiroro LGA of Niger State got into an ambush. Following a fire fight, 3 officers and 22 soldiers were killed in action, 7 soldiers wounded in action.
“Subsequently, the NAF MI-171 Hel was despatched to evacuate the casualties. While out bound to Kaduna, the helicopter crashed with 14 of the earlier killed in action personnel, 7 of the earlier wounded in action personnel, 2 pilots and 2 crew members of the helicopter.
“Operations are ongoing to recover the bodies and investigate the cause of the air crash which will be communicated. Surely, no group will strike own troops with impunity,” Buba stated.
While answering questions from newsmen, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet Nigerian Air Force, NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, said, “up till now we don’t know what made that helicopter come down”.
Debunking the viral video of fallen NAF Helicopter, Gabkwet urged citizens to be wary of the kind of contents spread on social media that are perpetuated by “criminal elements who want to divide us as a nation”.
He said accidents are normal occurrences that needs not to be ashamed of. He noted that in other countries, citizens rally round their Armed Forces to see them win, but back home, the case is different.