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Africa

Nigerian governor killed in helicopter crash

Governor of Kaduna state killed in crash in southern delta region along with other senior officials, his party says.
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2012 00:37

The governor of Nigeria's Kaduna state and a former national security adviser are among six people killed in a helicopter crash in Nigeria’s oil-producing Bayelsa state, officials said.

Advisers to both men and two pilots were also among those killed in Saturday's crash.  

The helicopter wobbled in the sky before nose-diving into a forest in Ogbia Creek at around 3:30pm local time (14:30 GMT), a local resident who witnessed the crash told the Reuters news agency.

"By the time we got to the scene it was in flames," said Hitler Adunion, a local community leader.

"We tried to put them out but it was difficult. We saw the roasted bodies of those inside."

'Utter shock'

The Nigerian Navy confirmed that its Agusta helicopter had crashed while carrying senior officials to Port Harcourt, but it did not give a reason and civilian authorities declined to speculate on the cause.

President Goodluck Jonathan has 
ordered an investigation into the crash [AFP]

President Goodluck Jonathan ordered an investigation.

"[The] President has expressed utter shock and sadness over the crash ... [he] extends deep and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased," a statement from the presidency said.

The statement confirmed the deaths of Kaduna state governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, former national security adviser General Owoye Azazi, their aides Dauda Tsoho and Mohammed Kamal and the two pilots, Muritala Mohammed Daba and Adeyemi Sowole.

Yakowa won a tight vote last year to become Kaduna's first Christian governor, under the ruling People's Democratic Party ticket. He replaced Namadi Sambo, who is now vice-president.

Kaduna sits on the borderline between the mostly Christian south and the largely Muslim north of Africa's most populous nation and has been at the heart of religious conflict.

Hundreds of people were killed in Kaduna state in clashes between ethnic and religious groups last April after Jonathan, a Christian southerner, won a presidential vote against his Muslim northern rival Muhammadu Buhari.

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