The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said it lost five officers in the helicopter crash that occurred in Borno on Wednesday night.
The helicopter crashed during counter-insurgency operations, while providing air support to troops of 145 battalion at Damasak in northern Borno.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, disclosed the death of the five officers in a statement issued on Thursday.
The statement read: "It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of the 5 crew members who were on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M Helicopter which crashed in combat yesterday, 2 January 2019, while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State. The deceased personnel, whose remains have been recovered to Maiduguri, are:
a. Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob - Pilot in Command; b. Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas - Co-Pilot; c. Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim - Flight Technician; d. Lance Corporal Adamu Nura - Gunner;
e. 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, owes 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 5 fallen heroes and prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose. The CAS was in Maiduguri today, 3 January 2019, to convey 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. While in Maiduguri, the CAS also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lietenant General 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."