Nigerian Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other officers were killed in a plane crash in the country’s north on Friday, the military confirmed, reported CGTN Africa. The military officials were on the way to the capital, Abuja, after making an official trip to Kaduna state.
The armed forces said in a statement that the incident occurred on Friday due to inclement weather as the plane was landing at the Kaduna International Airport. The statement added that the crash claimed the lives of 10 other officers including the crew. The military is yet to provide information about what may have caused the plane crash.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed Attahiru to the position in January this year as part of a shake-up of the top military command aimed at better fighting the growing violence in the country by Islamist insurgents and armed gangs.
President Buhari has been under increasing pressure from allies and critics alike over his government’s handling of increasing security problems in the country.
Nigerian military has been battling Boko Haram in the country’s northeast since 2009. Boko Haram and other militant groups have waged a decade-long insurgency estimated to have displaced about 2 million people and killed more than 40,000.
In a presidency statement, President Buhari described the crash as a mortal blow at a time when Nigerian armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country.
The US diplomatic mission to Nigeria mourned the Attahiru’s death describing his death as a tremendous loss to the country on Twitter.
The crash took place around three months after a small Nigerian air force passenger plane crashed outside the Abuja airport after an alleged engine failure. All seven people on board were killed. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has had a poor air safety record in the past.