Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other officers died in an air force plane crash in the country’s Kaduna state, a military spokesman said.
The 11 victims were en route to the city of Kaduna from Abuja on Friday when their plane crashed near an international airport in the state, Xinhua news agency quoted spokesman Mohammed Yerima as saying in a statement.
Some military sources told Xinhua that Attahiru, who was appointed the Chief of Army Staff on January 26, was on an official trip to Kaduna when the incident occurred.
The immediate cause of the crash is yet to be ascertained, said Edward Gabkwet, the spokesperson for the air force.
Also, the identities of the other officers aboard the aircraft are yet to be revealed.
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed shock at the incident, saying he was “deeply saddened over the air crash”.
“The crash is one mortal blow to our underbelly, at a time our armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country,” Buhari said in a statement, describing thevictims as “heroes who paid the ultimate price for peace and security in the land”.
The Nigerian leader further pledged that “the departed would not die in vain”.