Nigeria military rejects Boko Haram claims

2014-10-04 11:02

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - Nigeria's military on Friday dismissed claims that a man beheaded by Boko Haram fighters in the group's latest video was an air force pilot in a fighter jet that went missing three weeks ago.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had claimed in the footage obtained by AFP on Thursday that militants shot down the Alpha Jet and showed wreckage of an aircraft which included the Nigerian Air Force's green and white roundel.

A man, wearing a camouflage print T-shirt and with a heavily bandaged hand in a sling, was seen later kneeling in front of an unmasked Boko Haram fighter in combat fatigues and saying in English that he was one of the pilots.

He appears to give his name, rank and date of birth but the video is inaudible. He is killed after he finishes speaking.

Asked directly about whether the man was an air force pilot, as claimed, spokesperson Air Commodore Dele Alonge told AFP: "The man shown in the Boko Haram video is not our officer.

"The picture of a man beheaded in the video is superimposed," he said without elaborating. "Our plane is still missing and we are looking for it. Boko Haram is just making unfounded claims."

AFP asked the same question to defence spokesperson Major General Chris Olukolade, who announced last week that Shekau was dead.

He said: "No level or amount of barbaric display of bestial atrocities will distract the Nigerian military from sustaining the tempo of ongoing operations to decimate, degrade and bring the remnants of the terrorists already in disarray to due justice.

"The campaign against terror is still recording the expected result in the front. Nigerians should not despair," he said in a text message that was repeated on his Twitter account.

Nigeria's military has been under pressure to reverse Boko Haram territorial gains in three northeast states in recent months, with reports that soldiers have fled militant attacks and complaints about a lack of adequate weapons.

According to one security analyst who tracks the conflict, the Alpha Jet sent a signal that it had been hit and the two pilots' families met air force officers in the days that followed and were told it had crashed.

The jet came down in the heart of rebel-held territory, making search and rescue impossible, he added.

In the video, Shekau is seen on the back of a pick-up truck firing a powerful anti-aircraft gun and boasting about other aircraft Boko Haram has shot down.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.