A fighter aircraft and helicopter gunship were dispatched to attack the location within the forest. Upon arrival over the objective, several bandits were seen on motorcycles.
Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said its personnel on internal security operations in Zamfara State have killed scores of bandits terrorising the people of the state. The bandits were killed in Sububu Forest, Birni Magaji and Rugu Forest following air strikes and helicopter gunship attacks on the stronghold of the terrorists.
NAF director of public relations and information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, who made this known in a statement, said that the air interdictions and reconnaissance missions against the bandits were carried out in quick succession between August 9 and 11.
According to him, some of the bandits were neutralised quickly as they were discovered to be advancing for an attack on Birni Magaji village with automatic weapons mounted on motorcycles.
Daramola, in the statement, said: “The Nigerian Air Force Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation Diran Mikiya has notched up another series of successful operations against armed bandits in the northwest of the country. The successes were recorded in recent air interdiction and armed reconnaissance missions conducted from 9 to 11 August, 2018, resulting in the neutralisation of armed bandits in Sububu Forest, Birnin Magaji and Rugu Forest in Zamfara State.
“The attack at Sububu Forest was executed in the afternoon of August 9, 2018, following the discovery of a bandits’ hideout within the forest. Earlier in the morning on the same day, the ATF had conducted a coordinated clearance operation involving NAF Special Forces at a suspected armed bandits’ camp on the outskirts of Galadi in the northwest of Zamfara State. During this operation, the bandits were discovered to have vacated the camp and dispersed into the nearby Sububu Forest. Consequently, the ATF dispatched a combat aircraft for armed
reconnaissance to seek out and destroy the bandits. The aircraft subsequently spotted a large number of bandits within the forest and neutralized them.
“Similarly, on August 10, 2018, a combat helicopter on a reconnaissance mission spotted a group of bandits, armed with automatic weapons and mounted on motorcycles, at a location about 6km northeast of Birnin Magaji in the eastern part of Zamfara State.
From all indications, the bandits were advancing for an attack on Birnin Magaji. Accordingly, another helicopter gunship was scrambled to provide additional combat support. Both helicopters effectively engaged the bandits and neutralised many of them.
“Furthermore, on August 11, 2018, the ATF conducted another successful attack that neutralised bandits at Rugu Forest. The mission was initiated based on credible intelligence that a location on the fringes of Rugu Forest near Ajia, in the eastern part of Zamfara State, was being used by the bandits as a logistics staging area for the supply of arms and ammunition. Accordingly, a fighter aircraft and helicopter gunship were dispatched to attack the location within the forest. Upon arrival over the objective, several bandits were seen on motorcycles. They were attacked and neutralised in successive strikes by the two aircraft.
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“Operation Diran Mikiya, which commenced on July 31, 2018, is an intensive air operation aimed at locating and neutralising armed bandits with a view to stopping killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities in the North-West. The NAF continues to solicit useful information from the general populace to facilitate the success of the operation.”