Dec 17, 2012

Yakowa, Azazi: Puzzles in military circles over crash

WHY did the helicopter carrying former Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa and former National Security Adviser Andrew Azazi crash?

The question remained unanswered yesterday but in military circles sabotage is seen as one of the “strong possibilities” being considered– according to sources who pleaded not to be named “because of the sensitivity of the matter.”

The source, who is a top officer in the Western Naval Command, said: “At the moment, we can’t rule out sabotage as a possible cause of the fatal crash.

“We have heard reports that the helicopter might have exploded before it hit the ground. There is also yet unsubstantiated rumour that it was shot.

“For those reasons and the calibre of personalities involved, there is a strong case to assume, just assumption for now, that something beyond mechanical error triggered the crash.”

The aircraft, which is believed to be one of those attached to the Chief of Naval Staff, crashed on its way from Okoloba. On board with the duo were: Dauda Tosho, Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal, Commander Muritala Daba and Lt. Adeyemi Sowole. They were on their way from the funeral of President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide Oronto Douglas’ father.

The incident was the topic of discussion in top military circles and at officers’ messes yesterday. Among the puzzles are wther the chopper was gunned down or compromised prior to the fatal trip.

The aircraft was said to have been on aerial reconnaissance operation in the creek when it was redeployed to the service of the former top military brass.

The source said: “They said two or five minutes into the air, the helicopter exploded. We don’t know what happened exactly. Investigation has started now.

“They will soon give us the real story on what actually happened and what really went wrong. There are many rumours. Some allege sabotage.”

The Nation