LAGOS, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- At least five crew members on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M helicopter that crashed in combat on Wednesday in restive northeast state of Borno are dead, a top NAF official said Thursday.
The helicopter crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak area of the state.
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of the five crew members who were on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M Helicopter which crashed in combat yesterday while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno," NAF'S spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola, said in a statement reaching Xinhua in Lagos.
He did not provide more details.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian military has debunked reports that Boko Haram fighters are better equipped than Nigerian soldiers, dismissing them as propaganda and psychological warfare against troops.
Army spokesman Sani Kukasheka Usman in a statement accused "some misguided elements in the society of waging psychological warfare" against the army.
Usman said the ongoing counter terrorism operations were being trivialized and politicized for selfish reasons.
According to him, the army will always address its challenges and take charge of any issue without any external prompting, criticism or condemnation.
The army spokesman added that some individuals and groups in and outside Nigeria have been making false claims and allegations that Boko Haram terrorists were better equipped than the Armed Forces Nigeria.