Nigerian President Tinubu mourns troops killed in helicopter crash

Nigerian President Tinubu mourns troops killed in helicopter crash

The aircraft crashed on Monday morning while rescuing the wounded in north-western Nigeria.
Nigeria military has been battling a long-running insurgency in the north. / Photo: AA

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has spoken of his immense sadness over the deaths of soldiers killed in a helicopter crash while on an evacuation mission in the north-western Niger state.

"We will forever remember them, not just as servicemen, but as national heroes who gave their all for the peace and security of our country," he said

The helicopter crashed on Monday morning after take-off from Zungeru where the army is fighting criminal groups. It was rescuing the wounded, according to an air force spokesman.

It crashed because of gunfire from "bandits", AFP news agency quotes a military officer as saying.

"They will always be remembered as courageous men who did not consider the perils and dangers of their national duty as paramount to their sacred mandate," the president said.

Barely a week goes by in Africa's most populous nation without attacks or kidnappings by criminals known as "bandits" in the north-west and centre of the country.

The gangs, who have been notorious for mass school abductions, maintain camps in a vast forest straddling the states of Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina.

Northwest and central Nigeria have for years been terrorised by bandits who raid remote villages where they kill and abduct residents for ransom, as well as burn homes after looting them.

TRT Afrika and agencies