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The Defence Headquarters has provided detail on the soldiers killed in an ambush and the crash of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) MI17 helicopter on Monday in Niger State.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, while briefing newsmen on Thursday, said that a total of 36 officers and soldiers were involved in the two incidents.
Buba said that three officers and 22 soldiers paid the supreme price in the ambush in Zungeru general area while seven were wounded in action.
He explained that the NAF helicopter was on a mission to evacuate the deceased and wounded troops when it crashed at Chukuba area of Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
He said the crashed helicopter was conveying 14 bodies of the previously killed soldiers and the seven wounded ones as well the two pilots and two crew members on board.
“The ambush and the fire fight resulted in the death of three officers, 22 soldiers, while seven were wounded in action.
“As a result of this, there was need for casualty evacuation whereby the air force helicopter was dispatched while that operation was on and inbound to Kaduna, the helicopter crashed.
“It crashed with 14 of the previously killed in action personnel at the ambush, seven of the previously wounded in action personnel at the ambush, two pilots of the helicopter and two crew members.
In his contribution, the Director of Public Relations and Information for NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the cause of the crash was yet to be determined, saying operations were ongoing to unravel the cause of the accident.
Gabkwet urged the public to be wary of the kind of things they send on social media, saying they should not allow themselves to be used as as communication equipment to spread propaganda by enemies of the state.
He said military had continued to be open about its operations, adding that accidents in military operations was nothing to be to be ashamed of, as an organisation.
“We are fighting an insurgency and if anybody thinks insurgency is something that is tackled in such an easy way, then you should go back to the history books and find out how other nations have been facing the same problem.
“What we what we see in other countries is the citizens of those countries rallying around their armed forces and supporting them,” he said.