There is confusion over the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha jet that flew out of base for an assault on Sunday.
The fighter plane routinely conducts air raids on the Kaduna-Katsina-Zamfara corridor.
It has been reported that the aircraft crashed in Kaduna during an operation. There was no mention of casualty.
Late Sunday and Monday morning, sources close to the military said there was indeed an “incident” but that the pilot survived, according to the information available to them.
The identity of the flight officer (name withheld) is now known. He winged the jet that eliminated more than 120 bandits in multiple airstrikes executed at Sububu forest in Zamfara on July 12.
The operation followed the alert by locals to security personnel that scores of criminals in vehicles and motorcycles were gathering.
The pilot, after a reconnaissance aircraft dispatched to recce confirmed the presence of the bandits, rained bombs on targets at Sububu, Jajani, and Dammaka.
NAF Director of Information, Edward Gabkwet told the media on Sunday that there was no crash. “I am making contact and awaiting information from other locations,” he said.
Meanwhile, an official response is being prepared and will be issued later on Monday.
“NAF cannot confirm such an incident without locating the aircraft. What is paramount to the military is the well-being of gallant pilots and troops. I heard a search is ongoing”, a source said.
The Air Force and intelligence units zeroed in on two areas after the jet went off the radar between 12 noon and 1:30pm yesterday.
These are Birnin Gwari Local Government Area between Kaduna and Katsina States, and the axis of Funtua (in Katsina) and Gusau in (Zamfara).
One of our source assured there is no cover-up.
Additional details provided were described as “unfit for public consumption at this time”.