By Michael Olugbode
The Nigerian Air Force has said no helicopter crashed in Bama, central Borno State.
The spokesman of NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a post on the Whatsapp platform of the NAF/Defence Correspondents said what happened was that the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) helicopter had issues shortly after takeoff from Banki to Maiduguri and had to make emergency landing.
He added that the military were called up to the scene to provide security coverage while the team conducted emergency repair and the helicopter eventually flew back to Maiduguri around 11am on Tuesday.
Daramola, in a phone conversation had told THISDAY that the military after a thorough investigation found out there was no crash anywhere in Bama.
He said the question that should have been asked was what was Nigerien helicopter doing between Cameroonian and Nigerian border as reported by the news outlet.
He said the story was “a figment of the imagination of the journalist that reported it.”
“I can tell you authoritatively that there was no crash in Bama and Boko Haram did not shoot down any helicopter.”
Also speaking to our correspondent, the spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), Ms. Eve Sabbagh, said she was surprised to read that a Nigerien helicopter was shot down by Boko Haram somewhere in Bama.
She said what made her to doubt the report was the claim that the attack was on a Nigerien helicopter, wondering what could a Nigerien helicopter be doing at that particular location.
She equally said the rumour that perhaps it could have been a UN helicopter was untrue.
She said “none of our helicopters crashed.”
It was reported in the media that Boko Haram terrorists shot down a Nigerien helicopter in Bama, Borno State.
According to the report, five persons were killed in the incident which occurred Tuesday at about 10:am near Banki town in Bama local government area of Borno State, which is bordering Cameroon Republic.