Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Fighter jets, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and the 7 Division Strike group killed top commanders of terrorist group, Boko Haram and 72 other insurgents in Borno State.
This is coming as an all-female pilots of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for the first time conducted an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission in the ongoing fight against armed banditry in the North-west.
The Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) said the counter attack followed a failed attack on troops’ location at Banki Junction by terrorists within the 7 Division strike group response area.
It said after the attack, human intelligence confirmed the death of high ranking commanders of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The military update on the war against insurgency listed the terrorist commanders to include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap, among others.
“Additionally, 72 members of the sect were also neutralised. Others wounded with narrow chances of survival include some high profile commanders and fighters namely Abu Jamratu AL-Naweer, Kaka Bana and Tareta Babakari.
“Equally, a large number of their equipment , including gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by troops in collaboration with the air task force during BHT/ISWAP fighters withdrawal, which was in disarray”, it said.
The update issued by the Coordinator of (DDMO), Major General John Enenche, said credible information indicated that the Boko Haram/ISWAP camps were in chaos and presently unable to conduct any offensive due to heavy losses.
It noted that the blockade of their spy routes, networks, crossing points and logistics supplies had further crippled the terrorists and limited their freedom of movement and action to the advantage of troops.
It said the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, congratulated the gallant troops for their resilience, courage and dedication to ending the North-east security challenge.
The DDMO further stated that “the High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria hereby encourages all troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to sustain the onslaught against the terrorists”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made history with the conduct of an operational Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission by an all-female crew.
The mission, which was conducted on May 28, 2020 using the NAF Beechcraft KingAir ISR aircraft, had Flying Officers Oluwabunmi Ijelu and Genevieve Nwaogwugwu as Captain and Co-Pilot, respectively, with Sergeant Njoku Patience as the Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) mission operator and Lance Corporal Shawulu Godiya as the on-board technician.
A NAF anti-banditry update affirmed that Flying Officer Ijelu was the first female officer to become a captain on a NAF aircraft.
The aircraft was also marshaled by a female Marshaller, Aircraftwoman David Precious.
The mission, which was preceded by the customary pre-flight briefing, originated from the 307 Executive Airlift Group (307 EAG), at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport and covered selected areas of interest in Niger State and its environs, where intelligence that would support NAF air interdiction missions as well as the operations of ground forces was gathered.
The Commander 307 EAG, Air Commodore Francis Edosa, while welcoming the all-female crew from the mission, applauded them for displaying a high level of professionalism.
He remarked that the feat was only made possible as a result of the commitment of Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, to providing a level playing field for all personnel, whether male or female, to thrive and realise their dreams and aspirations in service to the Nation.
This, he said, had translated into tangible positive results. He therefore thanked the CAS for giving the female personnel the opportunity to prove their worth in hitherto male-dominated specialties in the NAF.
The NAF update signed by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola maintained that “within the past four and half years of the current NAF leadership, there has been a surge in the involvement of female personnel in areas that were previously the preserve of men.