Bandits shoot down Nigerian Air Force fighter jet - United African Reporter's

Bandits shoot down Nigerian Air Force fighter jet

In this photo released by Japan Air Self Defense Force, U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, top, fly with a Japan Air Self Defense Force F-2 fighter jet over Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, just south of the Korean Peninsula, during a Japan-U.S. joint exercise Sunday, July 30, 2017. Japan’s Defense Ministry reported the U.S. supersonic bombers flown from the Anderson Air Force Base in Guam conducted a joint exercise with South Korean Air Force over the Korean Peninsula later in the day. The U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in a statement that the mission was a response to consecutive intercontinental ballistic missile tests by North Korea this month. (Japan Air Self Defense Force via AP)

On July 18, 2021, at around 12.45 p.m., a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft was returning from a successful air interdiction operation between the frontiers of Zamfara and Kaduna States when it came under heavy enemy fire and crashed in Zamfara State.

Fortunately, the aircraft's brave pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, was able to successfully evacuate from the plane. The pilot, who came under heavy ground fire from the bandits, used his survival skills to elude them and seek refuge in surrounding settlements until sunset.

Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to avoid multiple bandits' strongholds and make his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued, using the cover of darkness and his phone as guidance.

It's worth noting that when the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, received word of the disaster, he ordered that all efforts be made to save the pilot.

As a result, NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships supplied close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army forces who were able to locate the crash site and the pilot's parachute, as well as search surrounding areas for any trace of the pilot.

It's heartening to learn that, while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF planes near the crash scene aided in scaring away the bandits who were chasing him, allowing him to seek refuge and flee to a safe location.

It's also worth remembering that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, recently urged the Nigerian Armed Forces to do all possible to flush out criminal groups in Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna.

The NAF, in collaboration with surface forces, has conducted intensive day and night air interdiction operations against bandits and their hideouts, particularly in these three states, in the last two weeks. Hundreds of bandits have been neutralised and several of their hideouts have been destroyed as a result of these extensive air operations.

Despite the setback caused by yesterday's disaster, the NAF remains dedicated to carrying out Mr. President's mandate and other constitutional responsibilities. As it continues to carry out its assigned responsibilities, the NAF's willingness, preparedness, and tested ability remain unshaken and unflinching.

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