NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — An airport official in the capital of Niger says a military plane from Nigeria has crashed, killing the two people aboard.

Chaibou Massalatchi, the head of Niamey's airport, said the plane had taken off Monday to do a reconnaissance mission.

The Nigerian military is taking part in the regional effort to support France's operation in northern Mali.

Nigerian Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade said two pilots were killed when the Alpha jet fighter went down 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of Niamey.

France launched the military operation in January to oust al-Qaida-linked jihadists from power in northern Mali.

Some 6,000 troops from neighboring countries including Nigeria and Niger have been taking part, though Chad has said it's withdrawing its nearly 2,000 soldiers.