The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA, has announced that it has successfully degraded several identified hideouts of a notorious armed bandit kingpin.
According to a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the attacks which took place on 15 and 18 August 2018, were executed in support of ground troops in Sector 2 of Operation SHARAN DAJI.
He added that the attacks were planned based on credible intelligence that the kingpin and his group of armed bandits were using an abandoned primary school in SHAMASHALE as well as some makeshift settlements in nearby RUGU Forest in the Eastern part of ZAMFARA State as bases for their operations.
He further said that, “The attack at SHAMASHALE was conducted on 15 August 2018, following further confirmatory Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions that revealed the presence of several armed bandits in the area.
“Accordingly, the ATF dispatched 2 combat helicopters to attack the location. During the attack, some bandits carrying sophisticated high caliber weapons were seen trying to flee the area. Some were on motorcycles carrying AK-47 rifles and, rather than dropping their weapons and surrendering, attempted to shoot at the helicopters; hence they were neutralized”.
Furthermore, the DOPRI noted that the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) conducted on 16 August 2018 confirmed that the kingpin’s main hideout had been severely degraded and human intelligence (HUMINT) sources later availed pictures of some of the slain bandits.
He revealed that items recovered from the armed bandits include 2 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), 2 AK 47 rifles, 100 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 2 mobile phones.
“The adjoining settlement camps within RUGU Forest, which had earlier been confirmed by HUMINT sources to be inhabited by only bandits, were attacked on 18 August 2018. A ground attack aircraft and 2 combat helicopters struck the camps in successive waves; first targeting the shelters and then executing follow-on attacks to ensure the threat posed to the local villagers was adequately dealt with.
“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” he stated.
He further advised all persons involved in armed banditry in the area therefore advised to renounce violence, surrender to security agencies and hand over their weapons” he ended.