A video claiming that Islamist insurgency Boko Haram had shot down of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jet is making rounds on social media. The video shows an aircraft exploding mid-air. A masked man is also shown standing by the wreckage, claiming the Boko Haram had shot the aircraft down. Here is a fact check of the claim.
First of all the video has two parts and the fighter is heard saying in the local Hausa language: "As you can see, this is the pilot of your aircraft, whom you sent to harm the servant of god. This is what god did to him. He fell from the sky, and if you do not repent this will be your reward."
NAF Press Release
It is a fact that NAF Alpha jet aircraft had gone missing in Borno on March 31, 2021. But the video of the explosion and claims made by Boko Haram have not been authenticated. Nigerian Air Force has released a press note in this regard with caption, "Crashed NAF ALPHA JET Aircraft was not shot down by Boko Haram." It stated that that currently, the video is being analyzed but explained why it is evident that the video was doctored.
"One of such videos, in particular, began with sporadic shooting by several terrorists, including underaged children on motorcycles and vehicles. It later skipped abruptly to a scene depicting an aircraft exploding mid-air, supposedly as a result of enemy action. Another part of the video showed a terrorist, who, while standing by the wreckage, claimed that they had shot down the NAF aircraft," said Edward Gabkwet, Air Commodore, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigeria.
"The video clip failed to show the correlation between the sporadic shooting, which even from casual observation was obviously aimed at ground targets, and the sudden mid-air aircraft explosion. In addition, it is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air, in the manner depicted in the video, and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact. Indeed, an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several miles," the statement read.
The video posted by Boko Haram:
NAF Press Release:
NAF stated that it was Boko Haram's way of employing fake propaganda. The Nigerian air force also claimed that they have significantly degraded the capability of Boko Haram to inflict mayhem. The officers have advised that people to ignore the contents of the videos making the rounds until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed are completed.
However, the final findings on the contents of the video are yet to be released. The missing flight is said to have two pilots - Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele on board.