By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
A combined effort of bombers from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and their Nigerien counterparts provided support for Nigerian Army when terrorist group, Boko Haram, attempted to overrun troops location in Garshigar, Borno State, NAF has said.
The terrorists in 13-gun trucks had advanced towards the 145 Battalion location in Garshigar from two directions, prompting signals from the ground troops for NAF to move in.
Confirming the development, spokesman of NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the air interdiction followed report that the location was under attack.
“Accordingly, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform that was on a mission at another location immediately redirected to Gashigar.
“In addition, a pair of Mi-35 helicopter gunships was scrambled to the location.
“Overhead Gashigar, the NAF ISR platform was joined by another from the Nigerien Air Force and they both were able to identify the location of the Boko Haram Terrorists ( BHTs) in 13 Gun Trucks, as they advanced towards the camp from two different directions”, he said.
He disclosed that “they subsequently directed the fire of the helicopter gunships and own ground troops support weapons towards the terrorists. The combined fire forced the BHTs to retreat from the camp”.
“However, the BHTs attempted to regroup at a location outside the camp but were again engaged by the helicopter gunships and sent scampering in different directions, with several of them killed or injured in the process.
“The ISR platform and helicopters remained within the location providing necessary air support for the troops until the situation was stabilised and threats neutralised.
Daramola said “the NAF, working in concert with surface forces, will sustain the tempo of operations with a view to destroying all remnants of the terrorists on the fringes of Lake Chad and other areas in Northern Borno”.