Olaleye Aluko, Abuja
A Nigerian Air Force helicopter crashed on Wednesday, Democracy Day, while trying to land at the domestic airport in Katsina State.
The helicopter, which is one of the air assets deployed for Operation Hadaran Daji, was returning from an anti-banditry mission in the North-West theatre when it crashed at the airport.
The airport, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, is located off Daura-Katsina Road in the state.
According to the air force, the incident occurred around 3.30pm and the details it had on the crash were still sketchy.
The military added that there was no loss of life, “either of persons on board the helicopter or on the ground.”
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, who confirmed the crash in a release, said the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had directed the constitution of a Board of Inquiry to determine the exact cause of the incident.
Daramola said, “A NAF helicopter has crashed in the process of landing while returning from an anti-banditry combat mission in the North-West Theatre under Operation Hadaran Daji. Details of the incident, which occurred at the Katsina Airport, are still scanty. However, there was no loss of life, either of persons on board the helicopter or on the ground.
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“The Chief of the Air Staff has immediately directed the constitution of a Board of Inquiry to determine the exact cause of the incident. The NAF continues to solicit the understanding and support of the general public as it daily strives to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
Our correspondent learnt that the helicopter is one of about eight fighter aircraft deployed to the region to combat the bandits. There are at least two Mi-35M attack helicopters and Agusta 109 platforms in the fleet.