Nigeria’s army chief Ibrahim Attahiru dies in air crash
Nigeria’s chief of army staff Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru has died in an air crash while on an official trip to Kaduna State, multiple media reports said.
Attahiru was appointed in January.
Although the Nigerian Army is yet to make any official statement on Attahiru’s death, Nigerian Air Force confirmed one of its aircraft crashed on Friday near Kaduna International Airport.
“The immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained,” Air Force spokesman Edward Gabkwet said.
Chief of Army Staff Attahiru was only appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in January as part of a shakeup of the top military command to better fight surging violence and a more than decade-long jihadist insurgency.
Attahiru died as news also emerged that Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist leader Abubakar Shekau had himself been seriously wounded or possibly killed after clashes with a rival Islamic State-allied faction.
President Muhammadu, who appointed Attahiru to lead the Nigerian Army to provide the troops a new direction, said the crash “was one mortal blow to our underbelly, at a time our armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country”.