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Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet Crashes, Pilot Ejects

Nigerian Pilot ejects after coming under enemy fire in the Kuyambana game reserve area, Northwest Nigeria.

A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) advanced trainer and light attack Alpha Jet has crashed while supporting military operations in Zamfara State, Northwestern Nigeria. 

HumAngle understands that the incident happened around the Kuyambana (Kwiambana) game reserve, a forest area that has become a safe haven for terror groups and thus a target of frequent air raids by the Nigerian military. 

The forest area which occupies a stretch of land in Zamfara is also adjacent to Kamuku national park in the volatile Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State. 

HumAngle was informed that the pilot ejected after coming under intense enemy fire

On Sunday, authorities were reported to have said that there was no crash in Kaduna and no aircraft left Yola in the northeastern part of the country for Kaduna.

The statement is in line with available reports indicating that the incident occurred in the Kuyambana axis of Zamfara, where military air campaigns are conducted. 

In June 2020, the Air Force announced the deployment of additional fixed and rotary wing aircraft at Umaru Musa ‘Yar’Adua Airport, Katsina State.

The advanced trainer and tactical-support two-seater Alpha Jets co-manufactured by Dassault of France and Dornier of Germany are an important component of air operations.

The aircraft are armed with unguided rocket pods,  bombs and revolver cannon.

Meanwhile, NAF has lost a series of aircraft to accidents that have led to the loss of military personnel and attrition in the past few months.

In May, a NAF Beechcraft King Air 350i  aircraft with the country’s Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru, and other military personnel on board crashed in Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, a few days after an ATR 42 aircraft was damaged in Edo State in the south-south region

In March, NAF lost radar contact with an Alpha Jet on a combat support mission in Borno State in the Northeast, with the incident still unresolved. 

The previous month, another Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft with seven personnel on board had crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja after reporting engine failure en-route Minna, Niger State.

A number of Alpha Jets have been lost to operations in recent years, including NAF 475 on March 31. In Sept. 2014, another Alpha Jet NAF 466 had gone down in Sambisa. The pilot was killed and the co-pilot remains missing. In May 2014, one crash involved a Nigerian Alpha Jet that had been stationed in Niger Republic for the  African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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