The Defence Headquarters said the crashed Air Force M1-171 helicopter that crashed on Monday in Niger State had on board 14 dead soldiers and seven wounded officers, two pilots and two crew members.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, provided the detail of the casualties while briefing newsmen on Thursday.
The dead soldiers whose bodies were on board the helicopter, along with the injured ones, were victims of an ambush by terrorists.
He explained that the NAF helicopter was on a mission to evacuate the deceased and wounded troops when it crashed at Chukuba area of Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
Buba said 36 officers and soldiers were involved in the two incidents.
Buba said that three officers and 22 soldiers paid the supreme price in the ambush in Zungeru general area while seven were wounded in action.
“The ambush and the fire fight resulted in the death of three officers, 22 soldiers, while seven were wounded in action.
“As a result of this, there was need for casualty evacuation whereby the air force helicopter was dispatched while that operation was on and inbound to Kaduna, the helicopter crashed.
“It crashed with 14 of the previously killed in action during the ambush, seven of the previously wounded in action at the ambush, two pilots of the helicopter and two crew members.
In his contribution, the Director of Public Relations and Information for NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the cause of the crash was yet to be determined.
He said efforts were ongoing to unravel the cause of the accident.
Gabkwet urged the public to be wary of the kind of things they send on social media, saying they should not allow themselves to be used as vectors to spread propaganda by enemies of the state.
He said the military had continued to be open about its operations, adding that accidents in military operations were nothing to be ashamed of.
“We are fighting an insurgency and if anybody thinks insurgency is something that is tackled in such an easy way, then you should go back to the history books and find out how other nations have been facing the same problem.
“What we see in other countries is the citizens of those countries rallying around their armed forces and supporting them,” he said.