- Integration of Ground, Air Counter Terrorism Operations Panacea to Insecurity, Says Chief of Air Staff
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Nigerian Army said yesterday that one army officer and a soldier were killed during clashes with Insurgents in Borno and Yobe States.
This is as the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar had said that the integration of air and ground counter terrorism operation would combat banditry and other security challenges in the country.
But other sources said 10 soldiers were killed in the confrontation with terrorists.
This comes as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, restated the resolve of the military to discharge its constitutional role of maintaining the territorial integrity of the nation.
An update made available by Army Headquarters said 16 fighters of Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) surrendered to troops.
It said the Insurgents surrendered with their spouses.
The update signed by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col Aminu IlIyasu, said troops deployed in Gajigana in Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno Date intercepted insurgents intent on attacking the community.
It said troops killed three insurgents and lost one soldier.
“Troops deployed at Gajigana in Magumeri LGA of Borno State intercepted some Boko Haram criminals in the early hours of Tuesday 5th November 2019.
“It is believed that the insurgents were on their way to attack the community to source for food items and other logistics for their survival. “However, the vigilant troops blocked and neutralised three of the Boko Haram criminals while several others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds”, it said.
The statement said: “unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme price while two others were wounded in action. The wounded soldiers are currently responding to treatment in a military medical facility”.
In the Yobe encounter troops of Sector 2 deployed at Damaturu, Yobe State, dislodged terrorists who attempted to infiltrate the town “The attempted infiltration was thwarted by the combined efforts of ground troops, artillery bombardment and precision air strikes by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole.
“The encounter led to the decimation of a number of the insurgents in addition to the destruction of one Boko Haram gun truck. “Unfortunately, one officer paid the supreme price during the encounter”, it said.
Col IlIyasu said 16 insurgents along with eight of their spouses who could no longer bear the heat from the onslaught against them surrendered to the troops of Sector 1, Multinational Joint Task Force at Fotokol.
The surrendered insurgents were later handed over to troops of 3 Battalion at Gamboru Ngala, a border town North-east of Borno State.
He said during preliminary interrogation and profiling, the insurgents confessed to have actively participated in attacks conducted against both military and civilian targets at various times.
He disclosed that 14 of them belonged to the Abubakar Shakau faction of Boko Haram.
“In another encounter with the Boko Haram criminals at Muchima in Damboa LGA of Borno State, 9 Boko Haram insurgents were neutralized by troops while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
“Additionally, one insurgent gun truck was destroyed, 4 AK 47 Rifles and a cache of ammunition were recovered”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai reassured the general public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute its constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better and secured Nigeria.
He also thank all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army.
He enjoined all law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation and intimidation and to provide useful information about suspected criminal elements to security agencies.
Air Marshall Abubakar made the observation in Minna- after the launch of the Airforce 2019 counter terrorism simulation exercise in Niger State yesterday.
He declared “integrating ground and air counter-terrorism operations will go a long way towards combating the increasing banditry attacks and reducing terrorism in Nigeria”
The air force boss said the simulation exercise tagged “Baban Naushi” was being carried out as part of the efforts of the Nigerian Air force to find solutions to a number of security challenges presently facing nation
“This simulation exercise is one of the exercises the Nigerian Air force has put together in order to build the required capability so that we can fully integrate air and ground operations
“Ultimately, our desire is to perfect what we are doing here and to extend it to other sister services particularly the Nigeria army who we are working closely with to come and see how we can work together in order to deal with the problems facing our country”.
The Chief of Air Staff added that air power in combating terrorism was very important in any military operations insisting that “Airpower is very critical to any military operation. It has continued to play a critical role in dealing with security challenges and therefore we are happy that we have a number of assets here.”
He added that “the force is restructuring in a way where they will be more effective and efficient.
“There is no way you can be efficient and effective if you do not analyse the way you do things and your processes. I believe at the end of the exercise, we should be able to identify gaps if there are any and try to see how we can fine-tune our tactics, our operations, our doctrines in such a way that it would be more effective to support ground operations. “
Abubakar said that the exercise had enabled them to see how the air projection elements of the Airforce fit into terrorism operations adding that more simulation operations would be carried out in other parts of the country.
“This is the second one, we will have the third one in the southwest so that we have a knowledge of the different terrains we have in Nigeria so that anytime they call upon us we should be able to do a great job.”
Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello who lauded the simulation exercise said with the level of precision carried out by the men of the Nigerian Air force, the force would be able to respond to any security challenge.
“The exercise meets my expectations. We are proud of the Nigerian air force and with what we have seen, with the level of precision, I am certain that they will be able to respond to any security challenge. We are motivated by what we have seen today.”