It has been reported that a pilot with the Nigerian Airforce, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, has been rescued after intense gunfire by armed bandits grounded a Nigerian Airforce Alpha Jet aircraft in Zamfara State.
This was reportedly confirmed by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet, stating that Dairo was returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states when the aircraft came under attack and crashed.
According to Gabkwet, “On July 18, 2021, around 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.”
He disclosed that, “Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft. Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset.”
He reportedly stated that, “Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.”
He made it known that, “It is instructive to note that upon receipt of the news of the crash, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had directed that all efforts must be emplaced to rescue the pilot.”
While commending the pilot, Gabkwet said that, “It is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location.”
He made it known that, “It is in fulfilment of this directive that the NAF, in conjunction with surface forces, has in the last 2 weeks mounted intensive day and night air interdiction operations against bandits and their hideouts, especially in these three states. Through these intensive air operations, hundreds of bandits have been neutralized and several of their hideouts destroyed.”
He added that, “Despite the setback of yesterday’s crash, the NAF remains committed to fulfilling Mr President’s mandate as well as other constitutional roles assigned to it. The willingness, readiness, and tested ability of the NAF remain unshaken and unwavering as it continues to carry out its assigned roles.”