- The Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF) sustained casualties on Monday, August 14, 2023, in two separate but related occurrences
- Troops ran into an ambush around Kundu general area in Shiroro, Niger State, leaving three officers and 22 soldiers dead
- Subsequently, the NAF MI-171 Hel dispatched to evacuate the casualties allegedly crashed, causing the deaths of officers
Major General Edward Buba, the Director of Defence Media Operations, disclosed on Thursday, August 17, 2023, that a total of 36 officers were killed. He added that a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter on a mission to evacuate the deceased and wounded troops crashed at Chukuba in Shiroro local government area (LGA) of Niger.
Niger bandit attack: Tributes for Major Oni
Major Oni was respected by his colleagues. He passed through trainings in several spheres of Special Forces operations.
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The deceased had certifications in Special Purpose Counter Terrorism and Ranger from Belarus, Special Forces Airborne Training from Fort Bragg, USA, Special Forces Reconnaissance from Fort Scorpio in South Africa, PI Commanders Battle from Brecon, UK as well as Humanitarian Security and Risk Management, Contemporary Intelligence Gathering, and Information Security all from Switzerland.
Oni participated in Operation Lafiya Dole (now Operation Hadin Kai), OP NUT CRACKER, OPSH, OP RESTORE PEACE, OPTS, OP CETO DOLE, OP FOREST SANITY and OP WHIRL PUNCH.
Legit.ng captures some tributes to Oni below:
“Oni's stint in life and service has been brief but hugely impactful, leaving indelible footprints in all spheres.
"Like a northern star, he shone everywhere he served, with discipline, humility and candor.”
Furthermore, Aruwa stated that General Saleh Bala wrote a touching tribute in memory of Major Oni.
According to him, General Bala posited that Oni possessed rare qualities in an officer.
“Drawing on the account of one of Oni's Commanders, he stated that Nigeria has suffered an immeasurable loss.”
Oni, General Bala further said, gave himself to Nigeria and his men, and lived his life as an officer in leadership, and transited into the next life alongside his men in active national duty.
Another mourner who couldn't hide his sadness was Deji Adesogan. Adesogan wrote:
“Goodnight warrior of warriors!”
Similarly, a Twitter user, Stephen Oyewole wrote:
“May God preserve all that you & your team left behind Major Oni.”
Niger bandit attack: Buhari expresses sadness
In a piece of related news, Legit.ng reported that former President Muhammadu Buhari said he is saddened over the death of several soldiers who were killed in an ambush and helicopter crash in Niger state.
Buhari said he hoped the injured soldiers recover soon.