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Bandits shoot down Nigerian military plane during operations against kidnappers

BANDITS in Nigeria shot down a military plane on the border of the northern Zamfara and Kaduna states on Sunday as the country’s security situation continues to deteriorate.

Pilot Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo ejected from the jet, which had been conducting air strikes against armed gangs operating in the area.

The operation was targeting one of the groups behind a spate of kidnappings of schoolchildren; more than 1,000 have been abducted in the north of Nigeria since December.

Many have been freed, but a number remain in captivity, and President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the armed forces to do whatever it takes to flush out the criminal gangs.

Air strikes and a ground operation had been taking place day and night. The military declares that “hundreds of bandits have been neutralised and several of their hideouts destroyed.”

It is rare for military aircraft to be downed in Nigeria. In April, the air force denied that an Alpha jet had been shot down by Islamist Boko Haram fighters during operations in Borno state.

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