This happened when the plane was arriving at Kaduna airport ‘due to bad weather’, officials said.
Nigerian army chief Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and other military officials have been killed in a plane crash in the north of the country, according to officials.
Friday’s incident happened “due to bad weather” as the plane was landing at Kaduna International Airport, officials said in a statement, adding that the accident “claimed the lives of 10 other officers including staff”.
There was no immediate information about the possible cause of the plane crash, but Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima said more would be done soon. The names of some of the deceased military officers are not mentioned.
The Nigerian military has complained of announcing the death of its Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru. The tragic incident took place after a plane crash in Kaduna that claimed the lives of 10 other officers including staff.
– The Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) May 21, 2021
Chief of Staff Attahiru was the only one elected Secretary-General Muhammadu Buhari in January as one of the strongest forces in the fight against violence, including a decade-long battle against the Boko Haram militant group.
Buhari, the former first president in 2015, has been under a lot of pressure from allies and opponents alike with his government in tackling the country’s security crisis.
In his remarks, the President said the accident “was a major emergency for us on a voluntary basis, at a time when our military is preparing to address the security challenges facing the country”.
The most tragic is the plane crash that killed the lives of the Chief of Staff Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, and other soldiers. All of them are heroes who paid for peace and security in the world.
– Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) May 21, 2021
The US ambassador to Nigeria said Attahiru’s death was “a major catastrophe in Nigeria” on Twitter, adding: “We join the Nigerian people in mourning the tragic death of the plane crash today.”
The Nigerian military has been fighting Boko Haram in the northeast since 2009, in a war that has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced some two million people.
Attahiru died while reports came out that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was seriously injured or possibly killed after an altercation with an opposition group.
The army chief had already led the fight against Shekau’s troops in northeastern 2017.
Local investigators say Shekau was seriously injured this week when Islamic State-affiliated Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) stormed its stronghold in the Sambisa forest northeast of Borno State. Journalists say Shekau was injured when he shot himself to begin fleeing.
The Boko Haram leader says he has been killed several times since the conflict began, but will resume later.
The Nigerian military is still investigating the reports and neither ISWAP nor Boko Haram have provided any information on the Sambisa attack or Shekau’s whereabouts.