From. Molly Kilete Abuja
Confusion enguled the military yesterday about the whereabouts of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, who reportedly died in a plane crash involving a Nigeria Air Force place. However, there was no official confirmation.
Gen Attahiru, with his ADC, Army PRO and other officers were said to be aboard the air force plane, which crashed in Kaduna while trying to take off.
The army chief, who was in Benue State to attend the 57th anniversary celebrations of the Nigerian Air Force, was said to have left Makurdi for Abuja and was at his office at the Army Headquarters before leaving for Kaduna after Friday Jumat prayers. The Nigerian Air Force had announced the crash of one its aircraft in Kaduna, but did not give details.
A tweet by Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information, said: “An air crash involving a @NigAirForce aircraft occurred this evening near the Kaduna International Airport. The immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained. More details to follow soon.
It was gathered that General Attahiru travelled to Kaduna to attend the passing out of recruits at the Depot, Nigerian Army Zaria and was about returning before the crash. Officers that travelled with the deceased included: Maj. Gen Abdulkadir, Maj. Gen Olayinka Provost Marshal, Brig Gen Kuliya, Maj L. A Hayat, Maj Hamza and Sgt Umar.
Members of the crew were Flt Lt to Asaniyi, Flt Lt A. A. Olufade, Sgt Adesina, Acm Oyedepo.
Sources said the rescue team was battling to retrieve the bodies of the crash victims last night. Saturday Sun gathered that when the bodies are finally recovered, a date for the burial would be announced. Already all past COAS have been informed about the sad event and told to be in standby for further updates to enable them attend the burial ceremony which would be held on Kaduna or the National Military Cemetery, Abuja. When contacted, a presidency source could not confirm the report, saying only the army will speak on anything relating to the COAS.