MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, April 2 (Reuters) – Islamist insurgencyBoko Haram claimed the shooting down of a Nigerian Air Forcefighter jet in a video seen by Reuters on Friday, two days afterthe aeroplane went missing in the country’s northeast.Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the video.The loss of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet 475 dealt ablow to Nigeria’s efforts to combat jihadist insurgencies in thenortheast, where air power has been crucial in attempts to stemthe spread of Boko Haram and its more powerful offshoot, IslamicState West Africa Province.Soldiers have for years relied on jet bombardments to turnthe tide of battles against the insurgents, while the air forceoften claims successful strikes on the militants.In Boko Haram’s video, the wreckage of a plane lies burnedon the ground, the charred fuselage bearing the phrase “NAF475.”A masked fighter stands atop the wreckage and identifies theplane as “jet fighter of the Nigerian Air Force 475″, thefootage shows. Later, a mangled corpse is shown in militaryfatigues.”As you can see, this is the pilot of your aircraft, whomyou sent to harm the servant of god,” the fighter says. “This iswhat god did to him. He fell from the sky, and if you do notrepent this will be your reward.”An air force spokesman said a statement would be issuedsoon.In a statement earlier on Friday, the air force had said:”the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed. Thecause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilotsremain unknown.”
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