Officers killed in Nigerian plane crash were near the location of abducted schoolboys

ABUJA, Nigeria – Seven Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel who died in a fatal plane crash in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Sunday were close to finding the whereabouts of dozens of students abducted by gunmen from their school in the north-center. In Nigeria last week, two senior military sources told the Daily Beast.

The crew, led by flight captain Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzma and co-pilot – Flight Lieutenant Henry Peo – lived in Minna, the capital of the north-central Niger state of Nigeria, and spent days gathering intelligence. The group was abducted last Wednesday in an effort to secure the release of 42 people, including 27, when gunmen in military uniforms stormed the Government Science College in Kagara, killing one student in action.

On Sunday, officials were notified of the abductors’ whereabouts. According to two military sources, they quickly flew to Namdi Azkiwi International Airport in Abuja to refuel their Bcraft KingAir B350i aircraft. When they were returning to Minna, the NAFA said the plane reported an engine failure and crashed while trying to return to Abuja, killing everyone on board.

“They had a clue where the students were located at the time and were preparing to survey the area when it crashed,” a NAF official told the Daily Beast. The source added that if the incident had not happened, he believed Air Force officials could have “reported the exact location of everyone abducted from the Kagara school.”

News of the plane crash caused unrest across Nigeria and spread rumors on social media that the plane may have been deliberately touched by actors who were “well trained” by the NAF and looking to rescue the seven officers described in the statement. Dedicated employees. On Sunday, the country’s Chief Air Staff Isiaka Amao Ordered an “immediate investigation.” In the deaths of officers who conducted intelligence-consolidation operations throughout the region, including in the entire region of northern Nigeria, such as ISIS-backed terrorists and Boko Haram operatives.

“We must remain calm and wait for the outcome of the investigation by the military,” said Nigerian Aviation Minister Sirika Hadi. Tweeted on Sunday, Appearing to address the chaos rumors surrounding the cause of the crash. Nigerian authorities have been accused of protecting armed groups associated with the Fulani tribe, mainly from the Muslim northern region of Nigeria, where President Muhammadu Buhari is based. Most of the officers killed in Sunday’s plane crash were from southern Nigeria, predominantly Christian region.

“Investigators will look into every possible cause of the crash, including foul play,” military sources told the Daily Beast. “I’m sure the new Chief Air Staff [who was appointed late in January] Would like to go to the bottom of this matter. “

This is not the first time that an investigation into the deaths of veteran NAF officers has been launched at the forefront of the fight against dangerous terrorists.

Last year, the country’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulop Aerotile, died after being hit by a vehicle laden behind her, leading to suspicions across Nigeria that she had been murdered. According to the NAF, inside the NAF base in the northwestern city of Kaduna, a “excited former Air Force secondary school classmate” accidentally hit “Aerotile” when he tried to cheer him on. The 24-year-old had just returned from a military operation called “Gamma Aki” in the state of Niger, where he was deployed to fight ISIS-backed terrorists and other criminal gangs, known locally as “bandits”. Combat missions. Her ultimate combat mission in northern Nigeria was to target the terrorists she targeted.