Efforts by security forces to free students abducted from a secondary school in Niger State has claimed the lives of seven Airforce personnel.

The surveillance aircraft flown by Captain Gadzama was on a mission to Niger State where concerted moves are being made to rescue students who were reportedly snatched by a gang of kidnappers dressed in military uniforms.

Military authorities in Abuja have disclosed that the pilot had reported engine failure shortly after the plane lifted into air.

Eyewitnesses who spoke to journalists recounted how the pilot struggled to avoid crashing into residential areas near the Abuja airport.

President Muhammadu Buhari expressed sadness over the incident which threw military families into mourning.

“Deeply saddened by the fatal crash of the @NigAirForce KingAir B350i aircraft today in Abuja, that claimed the lives of seven personnel”, Buhari said on Twitter.

“On behalf of the Federal Government, I extend heartfelt condolences to family members, friends and colleagues of those who died.

“I join the Nigerian Air Force, the military & all Nigerians in mourning the unfortunate loss of our dedicated & courageous personnel, who died in the line of duty.

“I pray that God will comfort the bereaved families & the nation, and grant the souls of the departed peaceful rest”, the President added