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Air force dismisses Boko Haram’s claim of downing missing fighter jet

Two personnel on the missing Nigeria Air Force Alpha jet were feared dead following reports that the aircraft had crashed at the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno State.

The NAF identified the two men as Flt Lts. John Abolarinwa and Ebiakpo Chapele.

The Air Force dismissed claims by terror group, Boko Haram, that it gunned down the missing Alpha jet, which disappeared from the radar on Wednesday

It said there was no confirmation of the claims, noting that the clips posted online by the group might be that of a previous incident

Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for downing the aircraft in a viral video on Friday.

The Abubakar Shekau-led faction of the Boko Haram sect released the footage of a crashed jet with one of its fighters standing on the wreckage. A body was also seen in the wreckage of the aircraft.

The NAF spokesperson, Edward Gabkwet, said the aircraft which lost radar contact on Wednesday around 5pm was providing support for ground troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East region when it disappeared.

Gabkwet in a statement on Friday added, “Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with two crew members on board on March 31, 2021, might have crashed. The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the two pilots remain unknown.

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