By Biodun Busari
A Nigerien military helicopter crashed and killed three people while landing at a military base at Niamey airport on Monday.
The Nigerien defence ministry said the accident happened when the Russian-built Mi-17 chopper was returning from a routine training flight.
“Unfortunately, all three crewmembers – a Nigerien officer and NCO and an expatriate instructor – died immediately despite efforts by rescue services to put out the fire,” a statement revealed.
The statement also stressed that an investigation has been instituted to reveal the cause.
Niger, Nigeria’s neighbouring West African nation, is the world’s poorest country by the benchmark of the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI).
Like Nigeria, the country is facing security challenges but continues to fortify its military in the face of jihadist insurgencies in the southwest and southeast of the country.
The country is receiving training and logistical support from France and the United States, which have major air bases in Niger, and from Belgium, Italy and Germany.
The defence ministry separately said Monday that “25 terrorists” were killed last week “from an air strike” in the western region of Tillaberi.