COAS Attahiru, aides perish in plane crash

Lt- Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, has died in an air crash while on an official trip to Kaduna.

The Nigerian Air Force had reported the crash of one of its aircraft early Friday, but did not give indication or details of casualties

Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information, in a statement on Friday, 21 May, tweeted: “An air crash involving a @NigAirForce aircraft occurred this evening near the Kaduna International Airport. The immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained. More details to follow soon.”

It was however learnt that the crashed plane was a military Beachcraft 350 with eight persons, including the Chief of Army Staff on board.

All eight souls onboard the air craft perished in the crashed at the airport’s runway about 6 pm.

The Punch reported that Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, Akin Olateru, confirmed that the eight souls died onboard.

“Beachcraft 350. 8 souls on board. Unfortunately all dead,” Olateru wrote in a WhatsApp note.

BBC News reports that the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army Yerima Mohammed confirmed the death of Attahiru in the crash.

Attahiru was appointed the Chief of Army Staff  following the changer of service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari in January.

He was the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigerian Army before his appointment.

Buratai had appointed Attahiru the commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the code name for the special military operation against insurgent group Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria on May 2017.

Buratai had tasked him with the task of capturing Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau either dead or alive within 40 days of his appointment.

However, Attahiru was redeployed few months later following reversals in the war against terror under his command.