Five crew members, including two pilots and three personnel of the Nigerian Air Force, have been confirmed dead in the helicopter crash which occurred in Damasak, Borno State, late on Wednesday.

The deceased are identified as; Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, pilot in command; Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Kilyofas, co-pilot; Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim, flight technician; Lance corporal Adamu Nura, gunner, and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael, gunner.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, confirmed their deaths in a release on Thursday, noting that their remains had been deposited in Maiduguri, Borno State.

An attack helicopter of the NAF deployed in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents had been reported to have been lost in combat.

The NAF had said the aircraft was lost around 10.30pm on Wednesday, noting that the helicopter was providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State.

Northern Borno is a vulnerable area where the Islamic State of West African Province fighters were attempting to overrun military bases, with attacks on Metele, Buni Gari and Baga in the latest attempted invasion on December 26 and 27, 2018.

The NAF’s spokesman, Daramola, had said, “A Nigerian Air Force helicopter was lost in combat while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State. The mission was part of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.

“The incident occurred about 7:45pm on January 2. Details of the cause of the crash are still scanty. As soon as the details of the crash are known, they will be made available to the public.”

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