The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has denied claims that one of its pilots was killed by terrorist group Boko Haram, as claimed in a recently released video.
Reacting to the terrorists’ claim, spokesman of the NAF, Air Commodore Dele Alonge told AP: “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 giving further details.
He however admitted that the Air Force fighter jet, which got missing in Adamawa State last month was yet to be found, but insisted that claims by the Boko Haram that it shot down the plane and that it was the pilot who was killed in the video was unfounded.
“Our plane is still missing and we are looking for it. Boko Haram is just making unfounded claims,” Alonge said.
In the same vein, defence spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade said although the jet crashed, but it was due to bad weather; Boko Haram did not shoot down the fighter jet.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, regardless of the denial of the Nigerian armed forces about the identity of the man killed in the Boko Haram video, a group identified as the Nigerian Army Support Group, yesterday, confirmed the identity of the man killed in the Boko Haram video.
According to the group, he was the air force pilot, Wing Commander Chimda Hedima.
The group, in a post on Facebook, described the pilot as “a true Nigerian hero”.
“It is with deep regret that we announce the death of a true Nigerian hero, Wing Commander Chimda Hedima (1975-2014),” the group wrote.
“This is his story. Read it, share it. This man was a hero, of the highest order.
“On 11/09/14, a company of NA soldiers attempted to overrun a BH position in Borno. Due to the low altitude, the plane suffered significant damage from the terrorists’ gunfire. Wing Commander Hedima and his partner realised that they were going to crash.
“They, instead of hurriedly parachuting to safety within Nigerian controlled territory, chose to embark on a mission to destroy as many terrorists and their weapons as possible.”
“They parachuted out at the last minute but not before ensuring their plane slammed into a column of terrorists; 63 Boko Haram members were killed as a result of their bravery.
“Wing Commander Hedima was captured. On 12/09/14, he was killed.
“He chose Nigeria, he chose all of us. We cannot forget him. Please share his story. His name should be known by everyone.
“Rest in peace Commander, we are grateful. May you find eternal peace; Thank you for your service.”