The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday said several armed bandits have been killed through air strikes in the forests of Zamfara state following intelligence reports on the locations of the bandits.
According to the Director of Public Relations and Information of the NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the Air Task Force of Operation Diran Mikiya carried out the attacks against the bandits in Bayan Ruwa and Rugu forests in the eastern axis Zamfara state.
Air Commodore Daramola, in a statement, further revealed that the bandits’ warehouses and make shift structures in Rugu Forests were destroyed during the operation which was conducted with the support of ground troops.
Air Commodore Daramola said:
“In continuation of operations to flush armed bandits out of the Northwestern part of the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA has, between 25 and 27 August 2018, successfully neutralized several armed bandits at BAYAN RUWA and RUGU FOREST in the Eastern part of Zamfara State.
“The attack on BAYAN RUWA was executed following an encounter with a notorious group of armed bandits by own ground forces whilst conducting clearance operations on 25 August 2018. The troops called for close air support and the ATF dispatched a ground attack aircraft as well as an attack helicopter to the location.
“The aircraft supported the ground forces of Sector 3 to inflict maximum damage on the criminal elements.
“On 26 August 2018, an attack helicopter on armed reconnaissance around same location sighted makeshift structures within a forested area suspected to be a new hideout being developed by the bandits that survived the attack of the previous day.
“The helicopter subsequently engaged the location. Some of the bandits, who were seen attempting to flee the location, were mopped up by subsequent follow-on attacks.
“Similarly, armed reconnaissance missions conducted on 26 and 27 August 2018, revealed the presence of some armed bandits at a settlement East of HAYIN ALHAJI as well as some warehouse-like structures deep inside RUGU FOREST that were being used as hideouts by the bandits. Several armed bandits and a considerable number of rustled cattle were seen around one of the makeshift warehouses.
“Accordingly, the warehouses and the criminals operating there were attacked by the combat helicopters leading to the destruction of the makeshift buildings and neutralization of several armed bandits.
“The ATF will continue to dominate the area through armed reconnaissance and air interdiction missions to completely decimate the armed bandits in order to ensure a return to normalcy in Zamfara and other States in the North West. All persons involved in armed banditry in the area are therefore advised to renounce violence, surrender to security agencies and hand over their weapons.”