Nigerian Air Force (NAF) combat aircraft has neutralised several armed bandits during air attacks near Mashema Village and at another location 4km Southeast of Yanmari, both in Zamfara State.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, “On 1 August 2018, ground troops, while on clearance operations near Mashema, came in contact with a group of armed bandits at a location West of Mashema Village and therefore requested for air support. Accordingly, a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft from Katsina and an Mi-35M from Gusau were scrambled.
He added that the combat aircraft which was in close coordination with troops on the ground “engaged the bandits’ location with rockets and cannons neutralizing several of them and causing a few survivors to scamper in different directions. The 2 aircraft subsequently pursued the fleeing bandits and thereafter neutralised them in follow-up attacks”.
Similarly, the Spokesman said “while on armed reconnaissance on Aug. 2, 2018, a NAF combat helicopter located over twenty armed bandits dressed in black attire with stolen cattle in their custody, in an open field near Yankari and Hayin Alhaji villages.
The bandits, a few of whom were mounted on motorcycles, began to disperse on hearing the sound of the helicopter but were engaged by the helicopters’ machine guns. Several armed bandits were neutralized in the air attack while a few survivors, seen fleeing the location, were taken out in subsequent follow-up attacks”.
Commodore Daramola noted that OPERATION DIRAN MIKIYA, which commenced on 31 July 2018, is an intensive air operation aimed at locating and neutralising armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Northwest with a view to restoring normalcy in the affected areas.
“The Operation will be sustained, in coordination with sister Services and other security agencies, to stop killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities,” he said.
NAF therefore called on locals, traditional rulers, local government chairmen and other government functionaries to provide credible intelligence that would facilitate the success of the operation.