Nigeria’s army chief, 10 others killed in a plane crash. The incident happened when the aircraft landed at Kaduna airport “owing to the unfavorable conditions,” says the military.
Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru of Nigeria and other military officials were killed when their plane crashed in the north of the region, officials said.
The crash occurred on Friday “due to bad weather” as the plane landed at Kaduna’s international airport, the armed forces said in a statement, adding that the accident “recognized the lives of ten other officers and the crew.”
There was no immediate information about what could have triggered the air accident, but Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima said that further information would come shortly. The identities of the other military officers who died were not released.
In January, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Army Chief of Staff Attahiru was only selected as part of the shake-up of the top military command to better combat emerging violent acts, including the over decade-long struggle against the armed group Boko Haram.
Buhari, the retired general first elected in 2015, was increasingly pressured by supporters and opponents alike over the treatment of the government’s escalating security issues.
The President said in a statement that the accident is a “mortal blow to our underbelly, at a moment when our military forces are ready to stop the safety threats that the nation faces.”
Attahiru’s death on Twitter was dubbed by the United States diplomatic mission to Nigeria as’ a tremendous loss to Nigeria, ‘adding:
“We join the Nigerian people in mourning the horrific loss of life resulting from the current accident.”
Since 2009, Nigeria’s military has been fighting Boko Haram in the North-East, killing over 40,000 and displacing about two million people.
Attahiru died after it became apparent that Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram chief, was critically injured or potentially killed after battles with a competing group.
The military leader had once led the offensive in the Northeast against Shekau’s fighters in 2017.
Local media outlets also reported that the ISIL-linked Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) assaulted Shekau’s fortress in the Sambisa forest in north-eastern Borno this week and he was seriously injured. According to the sources, Shekau was wounded when he fired himself to avoid arrest.
Since the violence started, the leader of Boko Haram has been confirmed to have been killed many times only later to appear.
The Nigerian military has said that it is still investigating the allegations, and no comment has been made by either ISWAP or Boko Haram concerning the Sambisa assault or whereabouts in Shekau.