The Nigerian air force (NAF) says its alpha jet was not shot down by Boko Haram insurgents.

The jet, NAF 475, went off the radar on Wednesday.

On Friday, the air force had said the aircraft may have crashed as the two pilots on board were still missing.

The Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram, however, claimed responsibility for the crash in a video.

But Edward Gabkwet, NAF spokesperson, in a statement, said the crash was an accident as the insurgents are not capable of bringing down the jet.

“Although the video is still being thoroughly analysed, it is evident that most parts of the video were deliberately doctored to give the false impression that the aircraft was shot down,” he said.

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“For instance, the video clip failed to show the correlation between the sporadic shooting, which even from casual observation was obviously aimed at ground targets, and the sudden mid-air aircraft explosion.

“In addition, it is almost impossible for an aircraft to have exploded mid-air, in the manner depicted in the video, and still have a good part of its fuselage, including its tail, intact. Indeed, an explosive impact of that nature would have scattered the debris of the aircraft across several miles.

“It is obvious that the Boko Haram sect, in its characteristic manner of employing false propaganda, is seeking to claim credit for what was obviously an air accident that could have been caused by several other reasons; particularly at a time when the capability of the group to inflict mayhem has been significantly degraded by the Armed Forces of Nigeria.”

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Gabkwet advised that the video be ignored until all investigations as to how the aircraft crashed are completed.

He added that the air force, on its part, remains resolute and will continue to work in synergy with other security agencies to rid the north-east of all “terrorist elements”.

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