Business in Ghana

We Understand the issues that make the News

An RAF Sentinel bound for Nigeria to find more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls has been forced to land for repairs in Senegal

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 20, 2014

RAF Spy Plane Breaks Down On Way To Find Nigerian Schoolgirls

By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent

The Sentinel R1 was forced to divert to Senegal with a “technical issue” and will be grounded until repairs have been completed.

The unexpected delay is a repeat of last year’s embarrassment for the Ministry of Defence when a C-17 transporter sent to help French troops in Mali was also temporarily grounded by technical trouble.

David Cameron offered the Sentinel to the Nigerian government to use its advanced ground scanning radar to hunt for more than 200 school girls abducted from a school hostel last month.

The modified executive business jet left RAF Waddington on Sunday bound for its new base in Accra in Ghana, where it will be stationed while flying across northern Nigeria.

However the crew reported technical problems midway through the flight.

An RAF source said: “We had a choice of turning around and coming home, or landing en route.”

It was last night unclear when the jet would be able to resume its flight and travel the remaining 1,300 miles to Accra.

The RAF has lost more than 8,000 airmen in defence cuts since 2010, while having to keep aircraft flying in operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. A recent air safety watchdog report warned the cuts and a shortage of skilled technicians were increasing the risk of accidents.

Nigerian police and soldiers are still hunting for the schoolgirls more than a month after they were taken in a raid on their school in the remote north eastern town of Chibok on April 15.

The captives are believed to have been driven into the nearby Sambisa Forest, and there are unconfirmed reports some have been forced to marry militant fighters in mass weddings and others have been smuggled across the border to Cameroon.

Nigeria’s military says near-daily aerial bombardments of the forest that began in mid-January were stopped to avoid accidentally hitting the girls.

Boko Haram has dropped demands for the release of top commanders in talks with the Nigerian government and is prepared to start releasing up to half its kidnapped schoolgirls in coming days, sources close to the group have said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: