It’s almost six months after it was declared missing, the Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet marked NAF 475 is yet to be found.
The fighter jet went missing on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in the insurgency-ravaged Borno State in Northeastern Nigeria.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Air Force, Edward Gabkwet had said the fighter jet lost contact with the radar in Borno State earlier that day.
Gabkwet said the plane disappeared while on an interdiction mission in support of ground troops. He said the mission was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
“The loss of radar contact occurred at about 5:08 pm on 31 March 2021,” he had said.
Details of the whereabouts of the aircraft or likely cause of contact loss are still sketchy but will be relayed to the general public as soon as they become clear. Meanwhile, search and rescue efforts are ongoing.”
A few days later, the Boko Haram terror group released a video showing its fighters shooting down an aircraft thought to be the NAF 475 alpha jet declared missing.
In the video that is about seven minutes long, the jet was seen flying low to the ground while the insurgents shot at it.
However, Gabkwet dismissed the video, adding that there was an ongoing search for the missing fighter jet.
Although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give a false impression that the aircraft was shot down.
Asked about the fate of the pilots and their families, he said, “There is a difference between absence without leave and missing in action, they are protecting our nation and got missing. Ours is a process that takes up to seven years in this kind of situation. The pilots are still part of Nigerian Air Force till date.”