By Yahaya Isah
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has dismissed the claim by the Boko Haram insurgents that they downed the missing NAF Alpha-Jet.
A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, described as fake the videos being circulated on the social media by the insurgents.
In one of the videos, several terrorists, including under-aged children on motorcycles and vehicles, were seen sporadically shooting at an aircraft.
Gabkwet accused the insurgents of doctoring the videos and showing a scene of an exploding aircraft mid-air, supposedly as a result of an enemy action.
“Although the videos are still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts were deliberately doctored to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down.
“For instance, the video clip failed to show the correlation between the sporadic shooting, which even from casual observation was obviously aimed at ground targets, and the sudden mid-air aircraft explosion.
“In addition, it is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air, in the manner depicted in the video, and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact.
“Indeed, an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several miles.”
Gabkwet stated that it was obvious that the insurgents, in their characteristic manner of employing propaganda, were seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident that could have been caused by several other reasons.
He said the propaganda was coming at a time when the capability of the group to inflict mayhem had been significantly degraded by the Nigerian military.
The NAF, however, advised Nigerians to ignore the contents of the videos making the rounds until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed were completed.
The NAF added that the service remained resolute and would continue to work assiduously in synergy with other sister services to rid the North-East of all terrorist elements.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NAF Alpha-Jet aircraft, NAF-475, went off the radar with two crew members on board on March 31. (NAN)