Fact-Check: Was Helicopter Pilot Supplying Weapons to Bandits in Niger State Arrested?
Claim: Viral messages on WhatsApp and some online blogs claim that a helicopter pilot supplying weapons to Bandits in Niger state has been arrested. The claim also alleged that the Helicopter belonged to a former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar.
Full Text: The text, which was accompanied by some photos of seized weapons, an attack helicopter, a white man and a portrait of Abdulsalam Abubakar, claimed that the helicopter was supplying “food, weapons and ammunitions to bandits, kidnappers, Fulani herdsmen and cattle rustlers.”
It further said they were, “arrested by local indigenes of Arina village, Shiroro Local Government of Niger state,”
Other variations of accompanying texts reads:
“BREAKING: Pilot who supplies weapons to bandists has been arrested in Niger State.
Juan Remy , an helicopter pilot who supplies weapons to bandists has been arrested…”
“BREAKING – Copied from another Platform. Juan Remy, a helicopter pilot who allegedly supplies weapons to bandists has been allegedly arrested in Niger State. Congratulations to our troops.”
PRNigeria spoke to the Nigeria Airforce (NAF) authorities on the matter and they denied having arrested any helicopter or Pilot carrying arms in Niger State.
“There is no such thing, it’s Fake News,” the Airforce spokesperson replied.
Further Investigation by PRNigeria reveals that photo of the alleged pilot and seizures appeared online in May 2021 when a report emerged that a former french soldier who had been living in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, since 2013 was arrested after a large cache of arms was found in his house.
According to the State Prosecutor in the Bangui Appeal Court, Eric Didier Tombo, the French national, Juan Remy Quignolot was arrested in May 2021 by a national police squad and presented to the authorities and the media. The report also stated that the suspect had been impersonating as a consultant journalist.
Conclusion: The alleged pilot and weapons in trending images were that of a french personnel who had been living in the Central African Republic capital but was arrested by authorities with arms The claim that he was a helicopter pilot flying a craft belonging to Abdulsalam Abubakar, supplying arms to bandits in Niger state is therefore FALSE.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com