Abuja: A fighter jet engaged in an operation against hijackers in northern Nigeria was destroyed in mid-air while the pilot barely escaped.
The incident took place on the border of Zamfra and Kaduna provinces. According to the Air Force, an Alpha jet was returning from a successful airstrike against hijackers and robbers when it came under heavy fire. The pilot of the warship, Abayomi Diro, sensed the danger, jumped out of the plane and took refuge in a house after landing.
Allegedly, armed criminal gangs in the area have been blamed for what locals call ‘dacoits’. The group kidnaps large numbers of people.
More than 1,000 people, mostly children, have been abducted in the area since December last year. Although many of these children have been rescued, they have all been ransomed. The government has since issued special orders to the country’s air force to crack down on the robbers, after which their hideouts continue to be bombed.
This is the first time since then that an Air Force fighter jet has been shot down.