The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) pilot who met his untimely death on Friday during a BDF Day rehearsal has been hailed as a hero after allegedly steering the stricken jet to crash away from highly populated areas, thus saving many lives in the process.
Even though BDF protocol and public affairs officials declined interviews on the tragedy that preceded the annual army celebrations on Saturday, his friends, colleagues and Batswana at large have hailed the deceased Major Cliff Manyuni a hero across all social media platforms.
Ever since his passing, the Rakops native has been praised for displaying commendable military aviation skills after skillfully controlling the fighter jet’s into a deserted area instead of ejecting and leaving it to crash into a densely populated area.
There are unconfirmed reports that the jet could have either crashed into the University of Botswana campus, the Village, or any other place teeming with people resulting in the death of hundreds, but the people’s hero negotiated with the machine until he found the Gaborone Golf Club’s fairways where he let it go down in a ball of flame. It is alleged that he
One could imagine how Manyuni, described by friends and colleagues as a humble, loving and handsome soul who was jolly all the time, could have felt seeing himself in that situation. Reports are that after the F5 jet fighter crashed, the other two jets went straight to their base at Thebephatswa Air Base instead of landing at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport as expected.
Members of the public posted on social media how they witnessed Manyuni negotiating with the aircraft as it went down so fast with flames engulfing it before the crash. Grieving Batswana praised him as a true patriot who selflessly placed national interest ahead of his personal safety, hence saluting him for being a gallant and selfless fighter who paid the ultimate price to keep the nation safe and secure.