From Azzazi to Attahiru: COAS crash adds to growing list of military mysterious mishaps


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Hours after the deadly crash that killed the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 others on Friday in Kaduna State, the slow pace of information is fuelling conspiracy theories.

In less than 5 months, the Nigerian military has recorded about 4 different air tragedies that leave Nigerians with more questions than answers. Often time, investigations by the authority are not disclosed.

On the 21st of February, a military aircraft, King Air 350 crashed in Abuja from Minna, Niger State, killing 7 personnel onboard. According to reports, the aircraft experienced engine failure just before the runway.

Less than two months after, Alpha Jet aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force went off the radar, with Boko Haram claiming responsibility for shooting down the fighter jet. The insurgents, who had in series of videos, said they have the debris of the jet, including the bodies of the two flight pilot, Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele and Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa.

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The government is yet to get an update on the status of the jet, the crew, the cause of the crash and those responsible.

On April 26th, scores of soldiers were killed in Mainok, Borno state when an Air force jet mistakenly bombed a military formation. While the government promised to investigate the mishap, nothing has happened, so far not to public knowledge.

During the Ali Pantami scandal, a document went viral, alleging to be a minute of a meeting presided over by Pantami, with a resolution to kill former Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa.

Yakowa died alongside Gen Andrew Azazi, a former National Security Adviser when their helicopter burst into flames mid-air over Okoroba in Bayelsa State. Although the authority said it investigated with an interim verdict of either “human error or material fault caused the crash.

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Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, the then spokesperson, had said more information would be disclosed to the general public when the forensic investigation was conducted.

A full report of the investigation could have helped to douse tension. It took the intervention of the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, John Hayab, who served as an aide to Yakowa to douse the tension.

Another tragic and mysterious death would be the case of Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat pilot. The circumstances of her death still elicit strong argument on social media.

According to the report by the Air Force, Arotile, 24, died from the blunt force caused by a vehicle in reverse, driven by a friend.

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This latest crash is coming in the wake of the alleged killing of Abubakar Shekau, the dreaded Boko Haram leader by another terror group, ISWAP. Also, the late Lt General, as the Army Chief was in the middle of the war against bandits, who are very strong in Kaduna where the crash happened.

On social media, users sympathetic to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), have been celebrating the crash. This could be linked to the operation of the Nigerian Army against Eastern Security Network, ESN, in the Southeast.

None of the non-state actors has claimed to be in any link to the crash, however, judging by the history of the country in investigation, more questions may be springing up.

Attahiru: FG begins investigation of plane crash that killed Army Chief, others

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