The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has lost an Mi-35M attack helicopter in combat while providing close air support to soldiers fighting Boko Haram terrorists in northern Borno State.
The NAF said the incident occurred about 7:45 pm on 2 January whilst the aircraft was supporting troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak. The mission was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
The NAF said all five crew on board were killed. “These gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our Fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire Nation, owes them an unending debt of gratitude,” said Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information.
The Nigerian military has been battling Boko Haram fighters as part of Operation Lafiya Dole. The NAF also announced that Alpha Jets on 1 January destroyed a building being used as meeting venue by Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters near Baga in Northern Borno State.
The attack was conducted after series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions confirmed that the building was being used as an assembly point by the terrorists. Consequently, an Alpha Jet was dispatched to attack the building. A direct hit was recorded on the target leading to significant damage to the structure and neutralization of the occupants.