Nigerian Air Force pilot forced to eject on Sunday, Jul 18, from a light attack Alpha jet after coming under intense enemy fire has been rescued by the military.
HumAngle had earlier reported that the Alpha jet crashed in Kuyambana game reserve in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria.
According to a statement by Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force, the Alpha jet was returning from an air interdiction mission when the incident happened.
“On 18 July 2021, at about 12:46 p.m., a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State,” Gabkwet explained.
The statement added that the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, was ejected from the aircraft and sought refuge in nearby settlements.
“Accordingly, NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships provided close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops who were able to locate the crash site and the pilot’s parachute,” Gabkwet said.
He added that “while also combing nearby locations for any sign of the pilot, it is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location.”
HumAngle understands that the pilot was ‘winged’ in July 2017, after completing specialised pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas in the United States of America.
The pilot received training on the T-6 Texan ii and T-38 Talon aircraft types in the US.
The statement from Gabkwet also disclosed that the Air Force, in conjunction with surface forces, has in the last two weeks conducted day and night air interdiction operations against terrorists also known locally as bandits.
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