Defence Minister, COAS condole CAS, Air Task Force, Lafiya Dole over death of 2 Pilots, 3 crew members of crashed helicopter

The Ministry of Defence under the leadership of Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali commiserates with the Nigerian Air Force and Families of the 5 Nigerian Air Force helicopter crash crew members who died in combat operations while supporting ground troops in Damasak, Borno State.

The Hon Minister received the sad news while on operational visit to Multi National Joint Task Force Headquarters in Chad to access the operational readiness of the Task Force to clear the remnants of the Boko Haram Terrorists along the Lake Chad Region.

He described the crash as unfortunate especially now that all hands are on deck to find lasting solutions to the menace of terrorism in the North East and armed banditry in the North West and other security challenges across the country.

The Minister prays to Almighty God to grant the souls of the departed eternal rest and give their families fortitude to bear the lost.

He also assures Nigerians that the lost will not affect the vigour of the war against terrorism and insurgency in our land.

Also, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General TY Buratai, on Thursday paid condolence visit to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal SB Abubakar, at the Headquarters of Air Task Force Command of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Maiduguri, Borno State.

The condolence visit was as a result of the unfortunate crash of Nigerian Air Force Mi-35M Helicopter while providing close air support to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole around Damasak, northern Borno State, yesterday Wednesday, 2nd January 2018.

During the condolence visit, the COAS said he was there to on behalf of Officers and Soldiers of the Nigerian Army, commiserate with the families, Officers, Airmen and Airwomen of the Nigerian Air Force and indeed all Nigerians, over the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the pilots, a technician and the gunners.

He prayed God to grant their souls eternal rest, adding that the gallant heroes’ death would not be in vain as they died on active service for the security of our country, to safe guard the lives of the citizen and serve humanity in general.

He added that military officers are one family, as they train together in various training institutions, operate and live together as professionals and therefore, as family, the Nigerian Army felt the pain of the sad incident.

He further stated that military job is associated with high risks, but as professionals, we accept such divine destiny in good faith.

He then called on the Director Military Intelligence, Major General SA Adebayo and the Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division and Commander Sector 1, Operation Lafiya Dole, Brigadier General Bulama Biu to lead in the prayers for the repose of the souls of the departed heroes.

Speaking earlier, the CAS thanked the COAS for coming to share their pains and grief over the sad incident.

He further assured that the Nigerian Air Force would continue to support and work with the Nigerian Army.

He commended the determined efforts of other gallant pilots despite the bereavement.

He also assured that despite the high risk associated with the military profession, they would continue to give their best to ensure the success of the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the country.

Present at the occasion apart from both Service Chiefs, were Principal Staff Officers at both Services Headquarters and field commanders and pilots at Operation Lafiya Dole.

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