Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said its Air Task Force (ATF) in Operation DIRAN MIKIYA, in Zamfara State, have killed several bandits terrorising people of the state and destroyed their operational bases in the area.
Director Public Relations and Information, Air Commodores Ibikunle Daramola, who made this known in a statement, said “In continuation of operations to flush armed bandits out of the Northwestern part of the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA has, between 25 and 27 August 2018, successfully neutralized several armed bandits at BAYAN RUWA and RUGU FOREST in the Eastern part of Zamfara State.
“The attack on BAYAN RUWA was executed following an encounter with a notorious group of armed bandits by own ground forces whilst conducting clearance operations on 25 August 2018.
“The troops called for close air support and the ATF dispatched a ground attack aircraft as well as an attack helicopter to the location. The aircraft supported the ground forces of Sector III to inflict maximum damage on the criminal elements.
“On 26 August 2018, an attack helicopter on armed reconnaissance around same location sighted makeshift structures within a forested area suspected to be a new hideout being developed by the bandits that survived the attack of the previous day.
“The helicopter subsequently engaged the location. Some of the bandits, who were seen attempting to flee the location, were mopped up by subsequent follow-on attacks.
“Similarly, armed reconnaissance missions conducted on 26 and 27 August 2018, revealed the presence of some armed bandits at a settlement East of HAYIN ALHAJI as well as some warehouse-like structures deep inside RUGU FOREST that were being used as hideouts by the bandits.
“Several armed bandits and a considerable number of rustled cattle were seen around one of the makeshift warehouses.
“Accordingly, the warehouses and the criminals operating there were attacked by the combat helicopters leading to the destruction of the makeshift buildings and neutralisation of several armed bandits.
“The ATF will continue to dominate the area through armed reconnaissance and air interdiction missions to completely decimate the armed bandits in order to ensure a return to normalcy in Zamfara and other States in the North West.
“All persons involved in armed banditry in the area are therefore advised to renounce violence, surrender to security agencies and hand over their weapons,” the statement said.