Following a mission late Wednesday at about 7:45 pm, by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to provide close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno, it lost a Mi-35M attack helicopter in combat.
According to a statement on Thursday by NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola, the mission was part of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North East, noting that the 5 crew members who were on board the military helicopter were killed in the crash, with their names given as: Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – Pilot in Command; Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – Co-Pilot; Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim – Flight Technician; Lance Corporal Adamu Nura – Gunner; Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael – Gunner.
The statement added that the remains of the deceased personnel have been recovered to Maiduguri, where the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar,
along with the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai conveyed the condolences of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, to personnel of the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE over the unfortunate loss.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed heartfelt condolences to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Nigerian Air Force, and the families of the dead Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in the military helicopter crash in Damasak, Borno on Wednesday.
The President who mourned the deceased men through a tweet via his Twitter handle on Thursday, said the sacrifice of the “fine officers and men lost their lives striving to guarantee our safety and protection as a people and a nation” will never be in vain, as he prayed that their souls rest in peace.
Heartfelt condolences to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Nigerian Air Force, and the families of the dead. These fine officers and men lost their lives striving to guarantee our safety and protection as a people and a nation.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 3, 2019
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.