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UPDATE: Nigeria mourns as chief of army staff, others die in air crash

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

It was gathered that he died with his aides in a plane crash, numbering about 12.

The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) had announced that an air crash involving its aircraft occurred on Friday evening near the Kaduna International Airport.

The Force in a statement by its spokesperson Edward Gabkwet said the immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained.

The plane, reported around 6pm and got burnt completely.

The Nigerian Army when contacted said an official statement will be released by the the NAF shortly on the development.

Ibrahim Attahiru was appointed chief of army staff on January 26, succeeding Tukur Buratai. He was 54.

DHQ opens investigation into Air crash that killed Army chief, 10 others

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Lucky Irabor has directed that an Accident Investigation Board be constituted to unravel the immediate and remote cause(s) of the air mishap.

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The CDS, in a statement signed by Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, acting director Defence Information at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) urged all military personnel and their families to take heart and be condoled in the tragic loss.

The CDS also reassured all Nigerians of the commitment and loyalty of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the Constitution and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as it continues to carry out its responsibilities.

The statement read in part, “It is with a heavy heart that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) regrets to announce that this evening at about 1800 Hours, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru in company of his entourage, who were on official trip from Abuja to Kaduna, were involved in an air mishap. The unfortunate incident occurred after landing at the Kaduna International Airport due to inclement weather.

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“As we pray for the repose of the souls of our gallant and committed Chief of Army Staff and other personnel on board with him, the AFN solicits the support and understanding of all Nigerians in the face of this tragic incident. We wish to state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remains resolute in combatting the security challenges bedeviling our nation. The sacrifices of our dearly departed heroes will not be in vain.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army in a statement by its spokesperson Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima said the burial arrangements of the deceased will be communicated soon.

US Mission joins Nigeria in mourning

The United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria also joinedin mourning the tragic loss of life from today’s plane crash.

The death of the Chief of @HQNigerianArmy Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru is a tremendous loss to Nigeria, and his loved ones,” the Mission tweeted Friday night.

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APC expressed deep shock over the report

Reacting, APC in statement by John-James Akpanudoedehe,
National Secretary of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party condoled with President Muhammadu Buhari, the military and families of the deceased.

“While the air crash is being investigated and reports on its cause sketchy, the APC commiserates with President Muhamadu Buhari, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Nigerian Military and the families of the deceased for the tragic loss of the officers who have gallantly served the nation with honour and dignity”, the statement read.

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