Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, and ten other officers were killed in a plane crash in Kaduna on Friday, the military said.
Following an official visit to Kaduna state, the military officials were on their way to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The army claims the incident happened while the plane was landing at Kaduna airport “due to inclement weather.”
The collision happened on Friday as the plane was landing at the Kaduna International Airport “due to inclement weather,” according to the armed forces, who said that the accident “claimed the lives of 10 other officers and the crew.”
President Muhammadu Buhari named Chief of Army Staff Attahiru in January as part of a shake-up of the top military command in order to help combat rising crime, including the more than decade-long war against the Boko Haram armed group.
The president said in a statement that the crash “was one mortal blow to our underbelly, at a time when our armed forces are poised to end the country’s security challenges.”
Buhari tweeted, “All of them are heroes who paid the ultimate price for peace and security in the land.”
In 2017, the army chief was in charge of overseeing the front-line offensive in the northeast against Shekau’s troops.
Shekau was critically wounded this week, according to local intelligence reports, when the ISIL-linked Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) targeted his stronghold in the Sambisa forest in Borno’s northeastern state.
The Boko Haram leader was wounded when he shot himself to try to avoid capture, according to one source, while another said he blew himself up to avoid being caught alive.
Forsige, on the other hand, has not verified the veracity of any of these allegations, as inquiries into them are still underway.