By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-AN Air Force helicopter carrying medical personnel came under several attacks by members of Boko Haram sect Wednesday, leaving an airman with bullet injuries.
But the terrorists were said to have suffered heavy casualty, as scores of them were killed through airstrike during the encounter.
The attacked helicopter was said to be carrying the medical personnel who were on a medical outreach programme in Gwoza when it came under attack by the insurgents.
The pilot of the aircraft, according to the Nigerian Air Force authorities, was able to fly the helicopter safely to and from its destination to enable the outreach programme continue uninterrupted.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, in a statement late yesterday, said the aircraft, an Mi-17 helicopter, was shot at severally by the insurgents.
The statement read thus:”A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter conveying personnel on medical outreach programme at Gwoza yesterday came under attack by members of the Boko Haram Terrorist (BHT) group.
“The Mi-17 helicopter was shot at severally by the insurgents however there was no casualty except for an airman that sustained bullet wound.
“The helicopter had departed from Maiduguri enroute the venue of the 2-day medical outreach programme in Gwoza when it came under attack by the insurgents.
Nevertheless, the pilot was able to fly the helicopter safely to and from its destination to enable the outreach programme continue uninterrupted.
“Following the attack, the NAF immediately scrambled a fighter aircraft and helicopter gunship to the location between Bama and Gwoza to neutralise the threat.
“Intelligent report by ground troops confirmed scores of BHTs were killed, signifying that the air attack on the threat location was successful.”
Recall that the NAF has been conducting medical outreach in the North East as part of its humanitarian support to Internally Displaced Persons. The latest of this effort was in Gwoza. This follows a similar effort undertaken recently for IDPs in Lagos area.