Nigerian Air Force Mi-171 crashes whilst on casevac mission

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An Mi-171 transport helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has crashed after apparently coming under fire from bandits.

NAF spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said the aircraft crashed near Chukuba village in the Shiroro local government area of Niger state on 14 August.

Reuters quoted military sources as saying bandits had fired at the helicopter that had been sent to evacuate victims of an attack on Sunday that killed at least 10 soldiers. Some sources suggest 23 soldiers were killed in the ambush and eight injured.

Gabkwet said efforts were ongoing to rescue the crew and passengers on board the helicopter while preliminary investigations have commenced to determine the probable cause of the crash.

A source told Agence France Presse that eleven dead soldiers and seven injured were on board the Mi-171 when it crashed after being shot at by bandits.

Armed gangs are active across Nigeria’s northwest where they rob and kidnap for ransom as well as burn homes after looting them. Thousands of people have been killed in attacks in recent years. The gangs maintain numerous camps in the forests of the Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina states.