Gunmen attack NAF helipad in Bayelsa, kill airman on duty


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Unknown gunmen have attacked a helipad belonging to the Nigerian Air Force in Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

It was gathered that an airman on duty at the security post was killed in the attack which occurred at the early hours of Sunday.

The gunmen, who reportedly scaled the fence of the helipad, made away with the victim’s rifle.

The helicopter landing site at Igbogene is surrounded by overgrown vegetation and trees, situation sources said made the place to be an easy target for the attack.

The Igbogene helipad is a preferred landing site for high-profile visitors to Bayelsa including security chiefs.

A security source, who described the attack as terrible and daring, said the hoodlums after scaling the fence shot the airman at the security post.

The source, who spoke in confidence, said the second guard was not inside the helipad when the gunmen struck.

He said: “The helipad is surrounded by bush. So it was easy for the gunmen to attack it. When they came, they shot the airman at the security post and took his rifle. When the second airman heard the gunshot, he rushed to the site and saw his colleague lying dead.”

He urged security operatives to always be at alert following preparations for the 2019 general elections.

“Activities for the 2019 elections have started and hoodlums are looking for weapons. This is one of the ways they go about it. Security operatives should increase their level of alertness,” he added.

The Nigerian Airforce Headquarters confirmed the attack but said its personnel on duty repelled it in a shootout.

A statement issued by the Director of NAF Public Relations, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, said the incident happened in the early hours of Sunday as a group of unknown gunmen attacked the guard post at Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Helipad.

The statement said: “Although the NAF personnel on duty were able to repel the attack, an airman paid the supreme sacrifice in the process.

“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has ordered an immediate investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

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