Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau released a video on Friday showing the downing of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet which exploded mid-air.
The seven minutes 30 seconds-long video showed the Alpha Jet flying low over a battlefield arena with multiple Boko Haram fighters engaging in fierce and uncoordinated firefights.
The insurgents could be seen firing what was likely a heavy machine gun (anti-aircraft gun) towards the combat aircraft. Then the footage of a fireball explosion could be seen, as the Alpha Jet headed rapidly towards the ground.
Fighters subsequently moved to the area of the crash and began removing components of the aircraft and the pilots’ personal belongings.
The video also showed a masked fighter armed with a belt-fed machine gun standing on the aircraft debris, and speaking both Arabic and English.
Multiple Boko Haram fighters had gun trucks, motorcycles, AK pattern rifles, belt-fed machines and what appeared to be at least one OTO Melara M56 105mm howitzer improvised into a mobile artillery system and Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (SBVIEDs) type vehicle.
This incident raises safety concerns on both military and humanitarian aircraft flying over the conflict zone. It is unclear if the crash was caused by the anti-aircraft gun or a weapon system the group did not show in the video.