Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has recorded some early successes in its ongoing Operation Diran Mikiya against armed bandits in parts of North West.
The Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement Friday, said the NAF combat aircraft neutralised several armed bandits during air attacks near Mashema Village and at another location 4km Southeast of Yanmari, both in Zamfara State.
Daramola said that on August 1, ground troops, while on clearance operations near Mashema, came in contact with a group of armed bandits at a location West of Mashema Village and therefore requested for air support.
He said that a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft from Katsina and an Mi-35M from Gusau were scrambled. He said that close coordination with troops on the ground, the combat aircraft engaged the bandits’ location with rockets and cannons neutralising several of them and causing a few survivors to scamper in different directions.
The DOPRI explained that the two aircraft subsequently pursued the fleeing bandits and thereafter neutralised them in follow-up attacks.
Similarly, he said while on armed reconnaissance on August 2, a NAF combat helicopter located over twenty armed bandits dressed in black attire with stolen cattle in their custody, in an open field near Yankari and Hayin Alhaji villages.
“The bandits, a few of whom were mounted on motorcycles, began to disperse on hearing the sound of the helicopter but were engaged by the helicopters’ machine guns. Several armed bandits were neutralised in the air attack while a few survivors, seen fleeing the location, were taken out in subsequent follow-up attacks,” he stated.
Daramola noted that Operation Diran Mikiya, which commenced on July 31 was an intensive air operation aimed at locating and neutralising armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Northwest with a view to restoring normalcy in the affected areas.
He said the operation will be sustained in coordination with sister services and other security agencies to stop killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities.
The NAF spokesman however, solicited for credible intelligence from locals, traditional rulers, local government chairmen and other government functionaries to facilitate the success of the operation.