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Nigerian Air Force says missing Alpha Jet was not shot down

The Alpha Jet aircraft that went missing on 31 March was not shot down as claimed by the militant group popularly known as Boko Haram, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said in a 2 April statement.

NAF 475 was unveiled in January 2016. (Nigerian Air Force)

NAF 475 was unveiled in January 2016. (Nigerian Air Force)

A video purportedly showing the incident was put together “to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down”, the NAF said. This included footage of militants firing weapons, followed by an aircraft exploding in mid-air and a militant standing on the wreckage of an aircraft with the markings NAF 475.

“It is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air in the manner depicted in the video and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact,” the statement said. “It is obvious that the Boko Haram sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident that could have been caused by several other reasons.”

The NAF reported earlier on 2 April that the Alpha Jet NAF 475 may have crashed after disappearing during a mission in the northeast of the country and that extensive search-and-rescue efforts were underway to find it and the two pilots.

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