FACT-CHECK: Niger Govt Circulated Misleading Wreckage Image of Bombed Jet

Earlier today, bandits grounded a military jet in Badna Chukuba village, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, but the Nigerian Air Force claimed the jet crashed while en route to neighbouring Kaduna State.

The same thing was echoed by the Niger State government. It went ahead to attach a misleading image to its statement.

A local in Shiroro LGA earlier told WikkiTimes the jet was taken down by bandits loyal to notorious kingpin, Dogo Gide.

In response to the attack, the military “started bombing the axis,” he said, adding residents have deserted the area and relocated to other places.

BREAKING: Terrorists Take Down Military Jet in Niger State


The Nigerian Air Force claimed that “Air Force MI-171 Helicopter” which was on a casualty evacuation left Zungeru Primary School and was heading to Kaduna where it “crashed.”

“A Nigerian Air Force MI-171 Helicopter on a casualty evacuation mission crashed today, 14 August 2023 at about 1.00pm near Chukuba Village in Niger State,” a press statement by Edward Gabkwet, spokesman for Nigerian Air Force read. “The aircraft had departed Zungeru Primary School enroute Kaduna but was later discovered to have crashed near Chukuba Village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.”

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“Efforts are currently ongoing to rescue the crew and passengers on board the helicopter, while preliminary investigations have commenced to determine the probable cause of the crash,” he added.

FACT CHECK: Foreign ‘Pilot’ Supplying Arms To Bandits Was Not Arrested In Niger State, But Central African Republic

Similarly, Mohammed Umaru Bago, Niger State governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Bologi Ibrahim, reiterated the Air Force’s statement as he sympathised with the agency over the incident.

“Niger State Governor Rt. Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago has extended his sympathy to the Nigerian Air Force over the crash of its MI-171 Helicopter in Chukuba community in Shiroro local government area of the State,” the statement read partly.

The state government, however, shared a misleading picture to depict the wreckage of the jet.


WikkiTimes fact-checked the picture the chief press secretary attached to his statement and found that it dates back to 2018, when two Nigeria Air Force (NAF) F-7NI jets crashed after a mid-air collision in Katampe Hills in Abuja, according to TheGuardian.

The pictures have been repeatedly used to depict cases of crashes, as seen here, here and here.

The Nigerian Air Force said the “crashed” helicopter left Zungeru Primary School before the incident. But that is not the truth, WikkiTimes can report.

Pictorial evidence and eyewitness accounts countered the Air Force’s claims. One of the residents who was at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Zungeru, where a helicopter came to evacuate the bodies of slain soldiers killed during a gun duel with bandits, said the chopper landed in the town “this morning, and it was at the FMC.”

WikkiTimes had earlier reported that cattle-rsutling terrorists invaded Niger State and operated for three days while soldiers waited for their return on Zungeru-Tegina Highway where they engaged each other in a long-hour gun duel that resulted in casualties on both sides.

Cattle-rustling Terrorists Raid Niger Communities Unchallenged for 3 Days, Targeting Herders

An insider who works at the hospital said the helicopter was supposed to land at Zungeru Primary School, “but it came here and we loaded 12 dead bodies of the soldiers inside. There were also about six others who sustained injuries.”

Further checks show that the helicopter, NAF 582, a Mi-171 series arrived Nigeria by Ilyushin Il-76 transport on December 2, 2021 and was introduced into the NAF’s inventory on December 24, at NAF Base Kaduna. 


Both claims by Nigerian Air Force and Niger State Government are misleading and false.

The Air Force claimed that “efforts are currently ongoing to rescue the crew and passengers on board the helicopter, while preliminary investigations have commenced to determine the probable cause of the crash.”

But a statement signed by Sani Yusuf Kokki, Convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths of Niger State, revealed that the scene of the incident could not be “access by anyone” as of the time Air Force released its statement.

The youth leader also confirmed that the jet was taken down by terrorists “under the command of Dogo Gide.”

“Terrorists believed to be under the command of Dogo Gide (a notorious terrorist) today gunned down a Surveillance Jet hovering around the airspace of some Niger Communities,” Kokki stated. “Badna Village around Chukuba axis of Shiroro local government, Niger State was thrown into confusion as gun wielding terrorists took a strange but a more dangerous dimension in their mission by shooting down an Air Force Helicopter.”

He added: Details of this horrific incident are still sketchy as no one could access the scene at the moment.

“However, in the meantime, due to apprehension, residents around the troubled area in their numbers have started fleeing to safer places. Locals were conspicuously seen deserting their ancestral homes and trouping in to more secured environments. May Almighty Allah come to our rescue, Ameen.”


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