Grief, tears as COAS Attahiru, other plane crash victims are buried in Abuja

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The remains of the Chief of Army Staff, Luitenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, and other officers who died in the helicopter crash of Friday have been finally laid to rest.

Their remains were on Saturday moved to the National Mosque and the Nigerian Air Force Protestant Church venues of prayers.

The burial rites started around 1 pm and was attended by top dignitaries in Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

Their bodies were later moved to the National Military Cemetery for the interment ceremony, where they were honoured with a 21-gun salute.

Ten other people, including principal officers, personal aides and the crew, also died in the crash.

The deceased are Brigadier-General MI Abdulkadir; Brigadier-General Olayinka; Brigadier-General Kuliya; Major LA Hayat; Major Hamza; Sergeant Umar; Flt. Lt. TO Asaniyi; Flt. Lt. AA Olufade; Sergeant Adesina and ACM Oyedepo.

While it was not immediately clear what caused the crash, an airport official told one of our correspondents that bad weather, occasioned by heavy rain, which happened in Kaduna, could have contributed to the sad tragedy.

A military source who expressed shock about the incident also said the deceased army chief observed the Juma’at prayer before he hastily embarked on his journey.

Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, on Saturday, said it has recovered the black box of a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft 350 jet that crashed on Friday near the Kaduna International Airport.

AIB-N said its investigators will download and analyse vital information contained in the recorders to ascertain the cause of the crash that claimed the lives of 11 military personnel including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru.

This was contained in a statement titled, ‘AIB-N To Conduct Kaduna Crash Investigation’ signed by AIB-N General Manager, Public Affairs, Tunji Oketunbi.

“The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the accidented aircraft have been recovered and investigation has commenced.

“Investigators will download and analyse vital information contained in the recorders at the AIB-N’s world-class Flight Safety Laboratory, in Abuja.

“The mandate given to AIB-N is based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two agencies on July 1, 2020, covering areas of mutual assistance,” the statement read.

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