NAF Special Forces Rescue 26 Kidnap Victims In Kaduna

Some of the rescued victims


Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces (SF) on Wednesday rescued 26 kidnapped victims while on a fighting patrol along Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Road.

NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a statement, said that the rescue operation occurred when the SF came across five abandoned vehicles with their doors ajar near Anguwar Yako, an indication of forced removal or evacuation and likely kidnap scene.

Commodore Gabkwet stated that acting on instincts, the SF began exploiting the general scene of the abduction and extended for about three kilometres radius well into the bushes while clearing the general area. Upon sighting the SF, about 3 kidnapped escapees suddenly came out from the bushes.



Further search by the SF led to the discovery of four different groups of victims hiding in the bushes. After a thorough search further into the hinterland, a total of 26 victims were rescued.

On interrogation, the victims who were traveling from Birnin Gwari to various locations including Kaduna, Minna and Kano, revealed that while enroute, a large number of bandits in three groups suddenly appeared from the bushes from 3 different directions along the route and surrounded their vehicles.

However, on sighting the SF, the kidnappers fled into the bushes with a handful of the victims while the other majority took cover and hid in the bushes until they sighted the SF.

The NAF SF have extended their operations within the area with the hope of rescuing the remaining kidnapped victims while those rescued have since been moved to the 461 NAF Hospital Kaduna for thorough medical examination.

NAF Reviews Training Curricula For Personnel To Boost Operations


The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has stated that for personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to be combat-ready and operate at optimum level to counter both domestic and foreign threats, the need to review the curriculum of its training institutions and facilities has become expedient.

The CAS stated this at the winging ceremony of some pilots and operators held recently at Headquarters NAF, Abuja, a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet announced.

According to Air Marshal Amao, the NAF recently reviewed the curricula of the various schools in the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) to meet expected standards, whilst also conducting instructional training for the instructors to ensure enhanced performance.

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He also revealed that the training curriculum for NAF cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy has been reviewed and new criteria specified for NAF officers to be eligible for posting to the Academy as instructors.

Also affected are some selected ground and flying schools where the CAS disclosed that, ‘I have authorized the audit of selected institutions in the NAF, including flying schools, by a team of experienced retired senior officers with a view to upgrading the practices and facilities at the institutions to meet international standards and best practices.’

He went further to state that special arrangements have also been made to upgrade operations training facilities to enhance the operational capacity of NAF operators in anticipation of increased tempo of air operations with the recently acquired platforms, while sustaining capacity building programmes for the NAF Regiment in joint efforts for synergy of air-ground integrated operations with sister services.

Overall, these efforts, according to the CAS, are geared towards positioning the institutions and facilities as centres of excellence that would produce pilots, engineers, technicians and other specialists that are well equipped to carry out their constitutional roles more effectively and efficiently.

Air Force Makes U-Turn, To Investigate ‘Bombardment’ Of Yobe Community

NAF logo.


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has commenced an investigation into the ‘bombing’ of a community in Yobe State.

Initial reports on Wednesday suggested that a NAF fighter jet had carried out the bombing which reportedly left several persons killed and many more injured.

The Air Force had earlier denied any involvement in the incident but in a brief statement on Thursday, the force spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said a proper investigation is ongoing.

According to Commodore Gabkwet, the probe is occasioned by the fact that an aircraft from the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai was detailed to respond to suspected terrorists’ activities along the Kamadougou Yobe River line.

He further revealed that following intelligence on the suspicious movements consistent with Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters along the Nigeria/Niger border, “the pilot fired some probing shots”.

The Air Force spokesman emphasized that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities.

Commodore Gabkwet disclosed that NAF’s initial release denying any involvement was based on the first report suggesting that civilians were bombed.

He explained that contrary to what had been reported, “the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs” and as such, a board of inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

READ ALSO: Many Feared Dead, Others Injured As Jet Reportedly Bombs Yobe Community

‘Mistaken Target’?

A file photo of Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on June 29, 2020.


The governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni, said lives were lost during an air strike on Buhari village, but did not confirm a death toll.

“It could have been an accident or mistaken target, but government will join hands with the security agencies to unravel the root cause of the incident,” his spokesman Mamman Mohammed said in a statement.

In January 2017, at least 112 people were killed when a fighter jet struck a camp housing 40,000 people displaced by jihadist violence in the town of Rann near the border with Cameroon.

The Nigerian military blamed “lack of appropriate marking of the area” for the bombardment in a report it issued six months later.

In July 2019, at least 13 civilians were killed when a Nigerian fighter jet hit Gajiganna village, as it targeted fleeing jihadists who had attacked a nearby base.

Air Force Denies Reported Bombardment Of Yobe Community


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has denied reports linking one of its fighter jets to the bombing of a community in Yobe State. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet explained that the agency last conducted a mission in Yobe State earlier in the month. 

“NAF last conducted a mission into Yobe State (Not Yunusari LGA) on 5 September 2021 and it was an armed recce,” he said. “No bomb or missile was even expended”.

READ ALSO: Many Feared Dead, Others Injured As Jet Reportedly Bombs Yobe Community

The NAF spokesperson’s comment came hours after residents of Buwari community in Yunusari Local Government Area said several persons had been killed and others injured in the reported bombardment.

A source in the community, Haruna Ali, had told Channels Television that three Toyota Hilux brought the injured victims to Geidam General Hospital.

The community is located 20 kilometres away from Kannamma, the headquarters of Yunusari Local Government Area of the North East state.










NAF Inducts Super Tucano Aircraft

A photo taken on August 31, 2021, shows Nigerian and U.S. officials and the newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano aircraft in Abuja. Source: U.S. Embassy.


The Nigerian Air Force has inducted six newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano aircraft into the NAF Order of Battle.

The induction ceremony held on Tuesday at the Presidential Air Fleet Apron of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Nigeria purchased the A-29s through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, the United States Embassy in Nigeria said in a statement.

The purchase, it said, follows the Department of Defence’s “Total Package Approach” model and includes spare parts for several years of operation, contract logistics support, munitions, and a multi-year construction project to improve Kainji Air Base infrastructure.

The total sale is said to be valued at almost $500 million, making it the largest FMS program in sub-Saharan Africa.

The A-29 can perform intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and precision air-to-ground strikes, strengthening Nigeria’s ability to fight terrorism.

According to the embassy, a total of 64 NAF pilots and maintainers trained to U.S. standards with the U.S. Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Base in Georgia, USA.

The training also emphasised the Law of Armed Conflict and civilian casualty mitigation that are fundamental principles of the Nigerian military’s professional education and training.

“As part of the programme, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing $36.1m in infrastructure support to the A-29s’ home base, Kainji Air Base, including earth-covered magazines and aircraft sunshades, a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, airfield lights, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point enhancements,” the embassy said.

“The infrastructure package also includes a flight annex wing building for simulator training as well as munitions assembly and storage and small arms storage. USACE has also stationed a project engineer at Kainji to provide ongoing maintenance and assistance.”

The Super Tucano induction ceremony was the latest of multiple significant engagements between the U.S. Africa Command, its components, and Nigerian counterparts.

Other recent engagements include a visit by the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) in August and U.S. Army Special Forces training with the Nigeria Navy Special Boat Service in July 2021.

NAF Establishes Office Of Ombudsman To Address Complaints

A file photo of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao. Photo: [email protected]


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has approved the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman to enable those outside the service to channel their complaints and grievances against the force or its personnel.

In a statement on Friday, NAF spokesman Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet explained that the office would also address complaints by personnel of the service.

He added that it would serve as an independent instrument that would provide an objective and compassionate channel for seeking redress.

“In approving the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, took cognisance of the need to provide an avenue for those outside the service, as well as NAF serving personnel to ventilate their grievances against the service for immediate resolution,” said Gabkwet.

“This is because the CAS strongly believes that putting in place appropriate mechanisms for redress would ensure harmonious relationship and substantially reduce chances of disaffection, improve trust and confidence with the civil populace.

“Such mechanism is also aimed at increasing motivation and promoting personnel loyalty among NAF serving personnel.”

According to the air commodore, NAF personnel have relied mostly on the provisions of the executive regulations – since its establishment – in channelling their complaints for redress while in some cases, complaints were referred first to immediate superiors even when such complaints are against such superior officers.

He stated that many persons outside the service have over time found it difficult to channel their complaints and grievances to NAF due to the absence of a distinct channel.

“The new Office of the Ombudsman, thus, provides an avenue to address these issues,” Gabkwet said.

Air Marshal Amao had approved the establishment of the Directorate of Veteran Affairs in July in a bid to stimulate better welfare packages for NAF veterans and their families.

The directorate, among other responsibilities, is charged with interfacing with similar structures in sister services towards harnessing necessary benefits for NAF retirees under existing Federal Government programmes for veterans.

First Batch Of A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft Depart US For Nigeria


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said that the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft have departed the United States of America en route to Nigeria. 

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Edward Gabkwet, in a statement on Thursday, said the fighter jets departed from the US on Wednesday and are expected in Nigeria anytime soon.

The statement was titled, ‘First Batch Of A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft Depart The United States Of America For Nigeria’.

“The six aircraft will be leapfrogged through 5 countries including Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Spain, and Algeria before arriving their final destination in Nigeria towards the end of July 2021.

“An official induction ceremony of the aircraft into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force is already being planned at a later date in August 2021 to be announced in due course. The Office of the Director of Public Relations and Information remains open to any inquiry regarding the arrival and induction of the aircraft,” the statement partly reads.

Air Force Trains Personnel To Tackle Incessant Aircraft Crashes

A screengrab taken on June 19, 2021, shows NAF personnel during a training session in Abuja.


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced the re-training of personnel in order to ensure the safety of its crew, as part of efforts to tackle the incessant air mishaps in the Nigerian military.

This followed the recent crashes that claimed the lives of at least 18 military officers, including the late immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.

Addressing reporters on Saturday, NAF Director of Training, Air Commodore Esen Efanga, explained that the Chief of Air Staff approved the training to enable the crew to be up to speed with global best practices and reduce human factors that cause air crashes.

He said, “We have discovered that in the world, most of accidents and incidents have bee attributed to human factors which the human being is the most critical aspect of the aviation sector.

“We have also discovered that most of the accidents do not have to do with the technical abilities of the crew, but rather the interface between the human-and-human, and the human-and-the-aircraft.”

“Because at this point, we are involved in several operations all over the country, this does not come without risks that we have seen in the air force of recent involving incidents and accidents,” Efanga added.

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He disclosed that the training was the first in a series of training that would be carried out in all operational units at various centres all over the country.

The air commodore stated that the crew were trained by very seasoned and experienced resource persons who were certified to impart such knowledge.

“It is the Chief of Air Staff’s intention to establish a culture of safety in the Nigerian Air Force so that while we have increased and enhanced our operations, we take care of this critical aspect of NAF operations,” he said.

On May 21, the nation was thrown into mourning after the death of Lieutenant General Attahiru broke.

Attahiru, who was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff in January, died in a plane crash in Kaduna alongside 10 other personnel of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force.

The incident was preceded by two other crashes – the first being Beechcraft KingAir B350i which crashed at Bassa village in Abuja while en route to Minna, killing seven NAF personnel in the process.

Personnel on board the plane had reported an engine failure and were on their way back to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport before the aircraft crashed.

About six weeks after the crash, a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft went missing while on an operation in Borno State and was found to have crashed days later.

The aircraft lost contact with radar on March 31 while on an interdiction mission in support of ground troops fighting insurgency in the state.

Masari Commends NAF’s Responsiveness In Fight Against Banditry


Governor Aminu Bello Masari has commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for its responsiveness in the fight against armed banditry and other forms of criminality in Katsina State and other states in Northwest Nigeria.

He also noted that the glaring commitment and dedication of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, as well as the efforts of NAF personnel at the forefront of ongoing operations in the Northeast, has significantly curtailed the activities of the bandits and limited their scope of operation.

Governor Aminu Masari disclosed this today, 18 June 2021, when he paid a courtesy call on the CAS at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.

Speaking further, the Governor stated that banditry in Katsina State and environs was peculiar as it does not represent any ideology, doctrine, religion, or political party. According to him, ‘Banditry in Katsina is pure criminality.

READ ALSO: How Bandits Fulfilled Their Promise To Attack Kebbi School – Lawmaker

He also revealed that the Katsina State Government has made several efforts to engage the bandits, but the moves have yielded little or no result as each group operates independently.

The security situation, according to Governor, was compounded by the vastness of the Katsina open border with the Niger Republic as well as the huge ungovernable spaces in the State which gives the bandits freedom of movement.

He expressed sadness that the activities of these miscreants which were associated with wanton destruction of lives and properties, kidnapping, rape, and arson have greatly affected the progress of the State.

Even more worrisome, according to the Governor, was the sad fact that these bandits attack the same locality they reside in and people they have lived with for years.

While noting that the primacy of governance can only be felt when peace and security are achieved, Governor Masari stated that all efforts must be made to root out banditry to restore sanity and normalcy in entire North-western Nigeria.

He expressed happiness with the level of synergy among the various security agencies and stated that the result of the new level of cooperation has started yielding the requisite outcome with some level of normalcy being felt in some areas of the State.

He, therefore, called on the collective support of Nigerians as the military works round the clock to ensure the protection of lives and properties.

Responding, the CAS thanked Governor Masari for his support to the NAF and other security agencies in Katsina State. He also informed the Governor of NAF’s firm support for the Governor’s stance of not negotiating with bandits, while assuring him that in no distant time, the security situation would take a turn for the better.

Air Marshal Oladayo also used the opportunity of the visit to inform the Governor that the mandate given to the service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari was clear and unambiguous: Deal decisively with all bandits and other criminal elements in the country.

According to the CAS, ‘With the induction of new platforms including the Super Tucanos and other platforms in the next month or 2, there will be no hiding place for these bandits.’

On ongoing NAF operational projects in Katsina State, Air Marshal Amao assured Governor Masari that when completed, the projects would enhance the operational capabilities and reach of NAF platforms in the State.

Highlight of the visit included the laying of wreath at the NAF Memorial Arcade in respect of NAF personnel who had paid the supreme price in the course of duty. The visit was witnessed by Branch Heads from headquarters NAF and some members of Katsina State Executive Council.

Air Force Sets Up Committee To Conduct Safety Audit On NAF Planes

A file photo of NAF personnel with an Alpha-jet of the Nigerian Air Force. Photo: [email protected]


The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has constituted a committee to conduct a safety audit of all Nigerian Air Force operational and engineering units.

This followed the plane crash in Kaduna State which killed eleven military officers, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.

A statement on Tuesday by NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, revealed that the committee comprised serving and retired senior officers of the force.

The committee, among other terms of reference, is to analyse safety reports from operational and engineering units, conduct safety evaluation of NAF units, and recommend measures to enhance the safety of operations in the units.

It was also mandated to interact with unit operational and technical personnel for views, observations, and contributions on safety measures.

The committee chaired by the Deputy Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Air Vice Marshal Abraham Adole, was asked to submit its report not later than June 18.


February 21 – May 21 Crashes

On February 21, the Nigerian Air Force lost seven of its personnel and one of its aircraft to a crash in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The affected aircraft – Beechcraft KingAir B350i – crashed at Bassa village – just a few yards off the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport as a result of an engine failure while en route to Minna, the Niger State capital.

Personnel onboard the plane had reported the fault and were on their way back to the airport before the aircraft crashed.

About six weeks after the crash, a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft went missing while on an operation in Borno State in the north-eastern region of the country.

The aircraft lost contact with radar on March 31 while on an interdiction mission in support of ground troops fighting insurgency in the state.

While the plane was later found to have crashed, the Boko Haram terrorist group said it shot it down – a claim NAF authorities swiftly refuted.

As Nigerians recover from the shock of the two crashes, the nation was thrown into mourning yet again on Friday last week after the death of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, broke.

Attahiru, who was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff in January, died in a plane crash in Kaduna alongside 10 other personnel of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force.

They included Brigadier-General MI Abdulkadir, Brigadier-General Olayinka, Brigadier-General Kuliya, Major LA Hayat, Major Hamza, Sergeant Umar, Flight-Lieutenant TO Asaniyi, Flight-Lieutenant AA Olufade, Sergeant Adesina, and ACM Oyedepo.

10 Months After, Father Of NAF Pilot Tolulope Arotile Seeks Justice


The families of the late Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot are seeking quick dispensation of justice in the case investigating the incident while led to the death of their daughter.

Arotile died in an accident on July 14, 2020, at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) base in Kaduna at the age of 24.

Her father, Akintunde Arotile, during an interview with Channels Television in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, on Saturday said he is yet to heal over the sad incident and he is more disturbed by the prolonged case investigating her death.

Akintunde Arotile


He added that his wife, mother to the late Tolulope, is more disturbed as she daily laments over the delayed case with justice yet to be served 10 months after.


Comic Book Launched In Honour Of Tolulope Arotile

Arotile’s Death: Suspect Charged For Culpable Homicide  


“We are trying as a family to put a closure to the whole thing particularly with the case that is still in court. Up till now, it has not been easy. If the case has been concluded we will try and see if we can put a closure to that chapter and we will just mourn her till maybe when I and my wife will die.

“But the case is still on. I don’t even know when the next hearing will be. My wife is so disturbed because of that.

“It’s like you have an open wound that is not healing. If the case is concluded, our minds will be at rest,” he said at an event organised by the Kogi State Government and unveiling of a cinema movie project in Tolulope’s honour.


Parents of the late Ms Arotile


Mr Arotile stressed that if only justice can be served as soon as possible, their minds will be put to rest.

“To show that you cannot just kill a serving officer, a pilot in the Air Force Base premises and the case is being treated as nobody.

“You know our normal judicial service system, the case keeps dragging on…that is a problem for us,” Mr Arotile lamented.

The NAF had earlier in July 2020 released its preliminary report on the death of Tolulope in a car accident at their base in Kaduna.

The Force in the report revealed that Ms Arotile was killed by her friend who mistakenly hit her with his vehicle.

“Upon recognising their schoolmate, Arotile, after passing her, Mr Adejoh, who was driving, reversed the vehicle, ostensibly in an attempt to quickly meet up with the deceased, who was walking in the opposite direction. In the process, the vehicle struck Flying Officer Arotile from the rear, knocking her down with significant force and causing her to hit her head on the pavement. The vehicle then ran over parts of her body as it veered off the road beyond the kerb and onto the pavement, causing her further injuries,” air force spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola, said in a statement containing the report.

The air force after the release of the preliminary investigation handed over the suspects Nehemiah Adejoh, Igbekele Folorunsho, and Festus Gbayegun to the at the NAF Base Kaduna.

The news of Arotile’s death in July 2020 shook the nation, leaving many saddened by her demise at a prime age.

The NAF later immortalised Arotile in September by naming a Pilot’s Crew Room after her.

NAF Says Missing Jet May Have Crashed, Reveals Identities Of Pilots

A file photo of NAF personnel with an Alpha-jet of the Nigerian Air Force. Photo: [email protected]


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft that went off the radar in Borno State might have crashed, authorities said on Friday.

The aircraft marked – NAF475 – had two crew members on board when it went missing on Wednesday in Borno State.

Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, disclosed this in a statement while giving an update on the incident.

While the cause of the crash and the whereabouts of the crew members who are NAF personnel remain unknown, the pilots are identified as Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.

According to Gabkwet, NAF surveillance aircraft and Special Forces, as well as Nigerian Army troops on ground are conducting extensive search and rescue efforts.

He stated that the Force remained hopeful that the crew would be found and rescued as it does not rule out anything regarding the incident.

Read the full statement below:


Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed.

The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots remain unknown. The pilots are Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.

Extensive search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on ground.

At this point, the NAF is not ruling out anything regarding the incident. It however remains hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued.


Air Commodore

Director of Public Relations and Information

A picture taken on April 1, 2021, shows the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, visiting Borno State after NAF Alpha-Jet lost contact with radar.


How It Happened

Channels Television had reported on Thursday that the NAF jet went missing after it lost contact with radar while on an interdiction mission in support of ground troops fighting insurgency in the state.

The mission was said to be part of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North East where insurgents have carried out series of attacks, killing thousands and displacing millions of civilians in over 10 years.

A day after the incident, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, visited Borno where he was briefed on ongoing search and rescue efforts in connection with the missing aircraft.

He appealed to NAF pilots, engineers, and technicians on the ground to remain undeterred and resolute in their commitment to ensuring that peace was returned to the North East.

On February 21, the Nigerian Air Force lost seven of its personnel and one of its aircraft to a crash in Abuja.


The affected aircraft – Beechcraft KingAir B350i – crashed at Bassa village – just a few yards off the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.

While en route to Minna, the Niger State capital, the crew reported an engine failure and was on its way back to the airport before the aircraft crashed.

The late personnel were buried at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.