Wednesday, August 11, 2021 11:13 am
Nigerian troops have turned the heat on bandits, eliminating no fewer than 115 in devastating attacks.
Acting on credible intelligence on the location of bandits’ camps at Jasuwan Garba-Urege axis in Niger State, the air component of Operation Gama Aiki (OPGA) conducted intensive air interdiction of the identified camps using a formation of Agusta 109 and EC 135 helicopter gunships to effectively decimate the camps.
A senior military officer involved in the operation said the aircraft formation took turns in engaging the locations with rockets while fleeing bandits after the rocket strikes were mopped up with cannons.
“The camps were seen engulfed in flames after the strikes. Reports from locals disclosed that about 70 bandits including their logistics bases were destroyed.
“The operation occurred on August 5, 2021. Similar operations were executed on 6 August 21 by the air component at Kwawu and Uzawo all in Niger State recorded huge successes with several bandits neutralized,” the source told PRNigeria.
Meanwhile, coordinated strikes by air platforms and assault by ground forces under Operation Hadarin Dajiof the Defence Headquarters has led to the eliminations of bandits gathered for a meeting in Sububu Forest in Zamfara State.
PRNigeria reports that local and foreign high profile bandit leaders were struck at the designated location which happened to be bandit leader Halilu Tubali’s residence at the North of Sububu Forest.
A top military intelligence officer told PRNigeria that upon receipt of information of a planned gathering of bandits at Sububu Forest, the Air Component OPHD was immediately activated to initiate and maintain ISR missions over the Forest.
It further gathered that land forces within the vicinity of the forest were also alerted to prepare for an assault on the bandits once air strikes on their gathering are executed just as the operatives of Department of State Service (DSS) kept surveillance on their movement.
The officer said: “At about 2.24pm on 6 Aug 21, intelligence filtered of the arrival of the bandits as well as the positive sighting of Halilu Tubali amongst a host of other high-profile targets.
“Subsequently, an Alpha Jets was dispatched to the target location. On sighting many of the bandits dressed in black, the Alpha Jet engaged with rockets in a first pass, neutralizing scores of them. The remnant bandits taking cover in a well camouflaged green roofed structure within the shrubs were equally neutralized.
“On a second pass, the aircraft targeted makeshift structures where remnants of the bandits were hiding and successfully decimated them.
“Few wounded bandits scampering in disarray after the strikes were promptly intercepted by ground troops who assaulted the location after the air strikes.
“The joint operation led to the successful neutralization of more than 45 bandits. It is still unclear if the bandit leader Halilu Tubali was killed in the air strike even though one of the bandits who was wounded in the strike confirmed the effectiveness of the strikes,” the officer concluded.
Efforts to reach the new Director Defence Information (DDI) and Spokesperson of Defence Headquarters, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyer for comment on the development were futile.