Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
In 12 missions, seven Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships weekend carried out air strikes killing scores of armed bandits in the Yadi and Kufai Shantu areas of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The joint air and ground offensive under ‘Operation Thunder Strike,’ destroyed several hideouts of the armed bandits.
A military update on the war against armed banditry said the operation was executed on the heels of credible human intelligence reports as well as series of aerial surveillance missions that led to the identification of the hideouts of a notorious bandits’ leader and his fighters.
It said “the first wave of the air strikes, which involved seven Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft undertaking 12 missions in a total of 23 sorties, commenced at dawn and targeted a cluster of huts housing notorious armed bandits’ leader, named Buhari Halilu”.
The attack aircraft destroyed some of the target structures and neutralised several bandits.
The second wave of attacks, which targeted the bandits’ hideout at Kufai Shantu, was aimed at incapacitating the bandits at the location to reduce resistance to the ground troops advance towards Yadi, the update signed by the Coordinator of the Directorate of Defence Media Operation, Major General John Enenche, said.
Enenche said following the air strikes at Kufai Shantu, the land component, supported by an attack helicopter, successfully assaulted Halilu’s hideout at Yadi, clearing the bandits and their hideouts.
The update said the ground troops subsequently fought through fierce resistance from bandits hiding under the foliage at the third objective and eventually overpowered the criminals, eliminating several of them.
The air component provided effective support to the ground troops during all phases of the operation.
The military high command commended the land and air components for their professionalism and urged them to remain resolute in the conduct of operations in order to eradicate all armed bandits.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria sincerely appreciates the continued support and cooperation of all well-meaning Nigerians, as it keeps up the tempo of operations to defeat all enemies of the nation”, it said.