The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said its personnel on internal security operations in Zamfara State have destroyed the hideouts and stronghold of a notorious bandit.
NAF director of public relations and information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, at the weekend in the statement, said: “The Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation Diran Mikiya, on August 15 and August 18, 2018, successfully degraded several identified hideouts.
The attacks, which were executed in support of ground troops in Sector 2 of Operation Sharan Daji, were planned based on credible intelligence that the kingpin and his group of armed bandits were using an abandoned primary school in Shamashale as well as some makeshift settlements in nearby Rugu Forest in the eastern part of Zamfara State as bases for their operations.
“The attack at Shamashale was conducted on August 15, 2018, following further confirmatory Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions that revealed the presence of several armed bandits in the area.
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Accordingly, the ATF dispatched two combat helicopters to attack the location. During the attack, some bandits carrying sophisticated high calibre weapons were seen trying to flee the area. Some were on motorcycles carrying AK-47 rifles and, rather than dropping their weapons and surrendering, attempted to shoot at the helicopters; hence they were neutralized.
Battle damage assessment conducted on August 16, 2018, confirmed that the kingpin’s main hideout had been severely degraded and human intelligence sources later availed pictures of some of the slain bandits.
“Items recovered from the armed bandits include two general purpose machine guns, two AK-47 rifles, 100 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and two mobile phones.
“The adjoining settlement camps within Rugu Forest, which had earlier been confirmed by sources to be inhabited by only bandits, were attacked on August 18, 2018.
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A ground attack aircraft and two combat helicopters struck the camps in successive waves; first targeting the shelters and then executing follow-on attacks to ensure the threat posed to the local villagers was adequately dealt with.
“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.”