-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –From Mike SOGBOLO (North-East Bureau):
The Nigerian Air Force has said there was no helicopter crash in Bama.
Speaking to our correspondent, the spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said the military has done a thorough investigation and have found out there is no crash anywhere in Bama.
He said the question that should have been asked is what is Nigerien helicopter doing between Cameroonian and Nigerian border.
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 surprise 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 what could have 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 helicopter crashed.”
It was reported in some section of the media that the Boko Haram terrorist sect 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.
Response by Ibikunle Daramola, spokesman of the Air Force: “It is sad that a respected media outlet like @daily_trust would publish a false, unverified report like this. No helicopter was shot down. No helicopter crashed in Borno State today. A UN helicopter indeed undertook a mission to Banki & has since returned to Maiduguri.
“One would have expected that, in line with the ethics of journalism, @daily_trust would have made more deliberate effort to verify the story by contacting relevant authorities before going to press, rather than propagating fake news.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Air Force just confirmed that United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) helicopter had issues shortly after take-off from Banki to Maiduguri and had to make emergency landing. Banki military arrived the scene to provide security coverage while the team conducted emergency repair and the helicopter eventually flew back to Maiduguri Around 11am on 17 Nov 2020.”