The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has furnished details regarding the unfortunate incidents involving soldiers that occurred in Niger State on Monday—an ambush and the subsequent crash of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) MI17 helicopter.
Edward Buba, the Director of Defence Media Operations, held a press briefing on Thursday, shedding light on the events. He conveyed that a total of 36 officers and soldiers were affected by these two incidents.
Major General Buba outlined that within the Zungeru general area, an ambush resulted in the sacrifice of three officers and 22 soldiers, with seven others sustaining injuries while in action.
He elucidated that the NAF helicopter was on a mission to airlift the fallen and wounded soldiers when it tragically crashed in the Chukuba region of the Shiroro Local Government Area.
The ill-fated helicopter was transporting the remains of 14 previously fallen soldiers, along with seven injured ones, as well as two pilots and two crew members.
“In the course of the ambush and ensuing combat, three officers and 22 soldiers lost their lives, while seven were injured in action. Subsequently, a casualty evacuation operation was initiated, and an air force helicopter was dispatched. However, during its inbound journey to Kaduna, the helicopter encountered a fatal crash,” Major General Buba stated.
The crash resulted in the loss of 14 personnel previously fallen in the ambush, seven previously wounded soldiers, the helicopter’s two pilots, and two crew members.
Commenting on the incident, Edward Gabkwet, the Director of Public Relations and Information for NAF, indicated that the cause of the helicopter crash was yet to be determined. He emphasized that ongoing operations were dedicated to unraveling the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Air Commodore Gabkwet urged the public to exercise caution in sharing information on social media, advocating against becoming unwitting conduits for propagandist content disseminated by adversaries.
He affirmed the military’s commitment to transparency in its operations, stressing that setbacks or accidents in military endeavors should not be regarded as sources of shame for the organization.
“We are engaged in combatting insurgency, and it is vital to recognize that resolving such complex challenges is not a facile undertaking. History has shown how other nations have confronted similar issues. In other countries, citizens unite around their armed forces and extend support,” he remarked.