Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) saturday sent five fighter jets to the notorious Sambisa Forest to crush Boko Haram terrorists operating in the area. The operation is coming on the heels of new reports of the regrouping of Boko Haram sect in the forest.
The regrouping of Boko Haram terrorists has also been linked to the resurgence of attacks by the sect, where they recently attacked Maiduguri, the Boko State capital, parts of Adamawa and Yobe States.
Speaking, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya said: â€œThe Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has intensified its intensive day and night aerial bombardments of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) locations within the North-east.
â€œOn the fourth day of the ongoing Operation Ruwan Wuta II, the NAF conducted air interdiction on some structures in Dure, a BHT-infested location, 12km east of Sambisa.â€
Adesanya explained that â€œreports from NAF Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms had revealed the gradual resurgence of BHT activities in the settlement, particularly at the targeted structures, which were hideouts for the terrorists.
â€œFive aircraft namely 3 x Alpha Jet aircraft and 2 x F-7Ni aircraft conducted the air interdiction missions. The Alpha jet aircraft and the F-Ni aircraft took turns to attack the location with bombs, destroying the targeted structures and killing the terrorists.â€
He observed that â€œthe Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) conducted after the strikes revealed that some of the structures were set ablaze by the bomb explosions.
â€œOn the same day, the NAF conducted air interdiction missions on a BHT-infested settlement in Mangusum. The location was attacked, in succession, by 2 F-7Ni aircraft and 3 x Alpha Jet aircraft.â€
Adesanya further stated that â€œthe F-7Ni aircraft and some of the Alpha Jet aircraft attacked the targets with bombs, destroying BHT structures in the location and sending a few BHT survivors fleeing.
â€œThereafter, another Alpha jet aircraft followed up with rocket and cannon attacks in the target area, strafing the fleeing terrorists in the process. Subsequent BDA of the attack indicated some burnt structures and significant casualties inflicted on the BHTs.
â€œOperation Ruwan Wuta II, which was initiated by the NAF leadership, as a follow-up to the hugely successful Operation Ruwan Wuta, has so far proved to be even more successful,â€ he added.
Meanwhile, troops intercepted a Boko Haram suicide bomb squad on Friday and neutralised five terrorists at different locations in Borno north, Nigerian Army said on Saturday.
The army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement, noted that the intercepted bomb at Ngalle village where one terrorist was neutralised â€œcould have been intended for troops or innocent and peace loving villagers.â€
Usman said a huge Improvised Explosive Device (IED) cylinder was recovered from the terrorists. â€œOther items recovered include an AK-47 rifle magazine, a motorcycle and some spare parts.â€
He also said troops intercepted escaping Boko Haram terrorists crossing Maiduguri-Monguno highway at Torowa village during which another terrorist was shot dead, while others fled into the nearby bush.
â€œThe gallant troops recovered an AK-47 riffle with a magazine loaded with 19 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, three mobile phones, a SIM card and jewelries,â€ he added.
In a related development, the army spokesman said troops have flushed out terrorists, who were taking refuge in the surroundings of Dure in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno.
He said the troops engaged and smoked them out of their hideouts at Jango, Nduma, Gobara, Bala Ibrahim, Fulani Rogo and Takwala villages and environs in the Gwoza Local Government Area.
â€œDuring the operations, the troops neutralised three Boko Haram terrorists and captured one other terrorist alive,â€ he said, adding that others escaped with gunshot wounds.
â€œThe troops also recovered one Fabrique Nationals (FN) rifle, one G3 rifle, charged magazines and a pair of military camouflage uniform suspected to be used by the terrorists to disguise as military personnel. Unfortunately, one soldier sustained injury during the operation.
â€œHe has since been evacuated to the unitâ€™s Regimental Aid Post, for more medical attention. The captured terrorist has been taken into custody for further interrogation and onward passage to relevant agencies,â€ he said.