The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) 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 neutralization of armed bandits in Sububu Forest, Birnin Magaji and Rugu Forest in Zamfara State.
In a statement Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said: “The attack at Sububu Forest was executed on the afternoon of 9 August 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 10 August 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 armed 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 armed bandits and neutralized many of them.
“Furthermore, on 11 August 2018, the ATF conducted another successful attack that neutralized armed 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 armed bandits were seen on motorcycles. They were attacked and neutralized in successive strikes by the 2 aircraft.
“Operation Diran Mikiya, which commenced on 31 July 2018, is an intensive air operation aimed at locating and neutralizing armed bandits with a view to stopping killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities in the Northwest. The NAF continues to solicit useful information from the general populace to facilitate the success of the operation.