President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mourned the soldiers who died in the helicopter crash en route Niger State from Kaduna on Monday, August 14, 2023.
In a statement he issued on Tuesday, the president noted that the deceased personnel answered the call of duty.
He said as the nation mourned the heroes, they would be remembered as servicemen who gave their all for the peace and security of our country.
He said; “These officers and men were answering the call of duty while on an evacuation mission. In their dedicated service to our beloved country, they paid the ultimate price.
“While we mourn their untimely departure, we will forever remember them, not just as servicemen, but as national heroes who gave their all for the peace and security of our country.
“They will always be remembered as courageous men who did not consider the perils and dangers of their national duty as paramount to their sacred mandate of ensuring that their fellow countrymen and women can live in peace.We salute their sacrifice, devotion and loyalty to Nigeria – the nation they loved and served to the end.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, I extend my condolences to their families, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, and the entire Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May God grant them eternal rest,” he said.
Meanwhile, terrorists suspected to be bandits have said they are responsible for shooting down the Nigeria Air Force’s surveillance helicopter that crashed in Badna, Chukuba ward of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State on Monday.
The terrorists made the claim in a two-minute-seventeen-second video seen by Daily Trust.
On the video which looked fresh and authentic, the terrorists said they shot down the military helicopter with an AK47 weapon.
The narrator in the video, who spoke Hausa, said the terrorists responsible for the takedown belonged to the Dogo Gide group, one of the notorious bandits that had terrorised parts of Niger State, causing deaths of many farmers and security operatives.
It was gathered that there had been ongoing counter-terrorism efforts on the axis which had led to the death of 53 terrorists.
It was also learnt that a day before the crash, the Nigerian soldiers had been ambushed and about 20 of them had been killed along the Zungeru-Tegina Road.