Tuesday, May 7, 2013

► NIGER: Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet crashes during reconnaisance mission near Niamey; 2 dead.

Nigerian Air Force roundelA Nigerian Air Force Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet on operations in Dargol, 60 km west of Niamey, capital of Niger, crashed at 13h05L yesterday killing both pilots. Chaibou Massalatchi, the head of Niamey’s airport, said the plane had taken off on the morning of Monday, May 6, for a reconnaissance mission into the north-west of Niger when it came down.

Nigerian Alpha Jet in Kaduna
Nigerian Alpha Jet
The aircraft, one of four based in Niamey, was part of the Nigerian Air Force "deployed in support of the International Mission Support in Mali (Misma)," said an NAF spokesman.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident, with suspicions pointing towards mechanical problems. The Nigerian Air Force has discounted speculation that the aircraft had been shot down by Al Qaeda-aligned rebels in northern Mali. 

French and Chadian planes as well as US drones have used the Niamey airport as a base for their operations in Mali.