Nigeria’s top army commander died in a plane crash

Nigeria’s top army commander, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, was killed on Friday when his plane crashed in the north of the country, an air force spokesman said.

Chief of Staff Attahiru was just appointed in January by President Muhammadu Buhari in a shake-up of the highest military command to better combat rising violence and a more than a decade-long jihadist insurgency.

Attahiru was killed when the plane crashed in the northern state of Kaduna, Air Force spokesman Edward Gabkwet confirmed to AFP, without giving any details about the incident.

A plane crash involving a @ NigAirForce plane took place tonight near Kaduna International Airport. The immediate cause of the crash is still being determined. More details will follow shortly.

Edward GabkwetAir Commodore Director of Public Relations and Information 5/21/21 pic.twitter.com/N01V2M6qUc

– Nigerian Air Force (@NigAirForce) May 21, 2021

The crash comes three months after a small Nigerian Air Force passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja Airport following an alleged engine failure, killing all seven people on board.

Attahiru died when news came that Nigerian jihadist leader Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, had been seriously injured in clashes with fighters from a rival Islamic State-affiliated faction.

# Nigeria Army Chief Lieutenant General Ibrahim #Attahiru dies in plane crash. The @NigAirforce Beachcraft 350i that took him and 7 others to Kaduna crashed on landing at Kaduna Int’l Airport. Attahiru, 56, was appointed army chief on January 26. A fine officer. A Tragic, Devastating Loss! pic.twitter.com/CWs2hmxPIz

– Nnamdi Obasi (@NnamdiObasi) May 21, 2021

The Nigerian military has been fighting an Islamist uprising in the Northeast since 2009, a conflict that killed more than 40,000 people and displaced another two million.

( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)

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