The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft operating in the North-East and North-West regions of the country between March 28 and 31, 2022, killed 33 terrorists in coordinated airstrikes in the forests of Borno, Zamfara and Kaduna States.
A top military source said the NAF through the Air Component of Operations Hadin Kai, Hadarin Daji and Thunders Strike, have again recorded major feats in ongoing military onslaughts against terrorist activities in the regions.
In the North-East, he said days of intelligence gathering revealed that terrorists’ activities in the Tumbuns near Bukar Meram and Kollaram had heightened.
He said the terrorists converted the location into an important rendezvous point for ISWAP fighters.
LEADERSHIP reports that Bukar Meram is a known prominent ISWAP enclave in Lake Chad region.
He said further intelligence revealed that large stockpile of weapons was concealed in the two locations in anticipation of terrorists’ offensive operations.
He said confirmation intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) conducted on March 28, 2022 indicated significant activities and gathering of different sets of terrorist fighters were observed at Bukar Meran while ISWAP activities were seen about 2km South of Kollaram.
The ISR further confirmed the locations as hideouts for terrorists.
Hence, the need to conduct air interdiction at Bukar Meram and South of Kollaram to neutralise terrorists and soften the ground for Nigerian Army troops to exploit.
The Air Component subsequently scrambled NAF aircraft to attack the locations.
He said, bombs and rockets were simultaneously dropped on the targets, while surviving and fleeing terrorists were mobbed up.
Similar successful strikes were also recorded by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji when a fighter jet on Armed Recce sighted over 50 terrorists on motorcycles converging under the cover of a huge vegetation at Sangeko Forest, in Maru local government area of Zamfara State.
According to the source, the terrorists upon sighting the aircraft immediately dispersed in confusion but the fighter jets took decisive turns in engaging the terrorists with cannons in successive passes, leading to the decimation of the terrorists and destruction of their motorcycles.
He quoted credible feedback from locals at Sangeko showing that the terrorists suffered heavy casualties as their significant number were neutralised while the few survivors escaped with various degrees of injuries.
In Kaduna State, he said overnight ISR conducted between March 30 and 31, 2022 at Kusasu revealed four motorcycles departing the location to a slightly forested area Southwards of Kusasu.
Within the same location, several other motorcycles were observed moving in pairs at random from one place to another.
“Since the coordinates tallied with previous intelligence earlier received that the location is a hibernating point for terrorists, NAF aircraft engaged the most viable spot which was observed to have the most significant human and motorcycle activities.
“After the impact of the strikes, about 33 terrorists’ bodies were counted, while others dispersed in various directions. The groups were trailed for a while to determine their final resting points in preparation for another possible strike. However, they all fizzled out making them non-viable targets”.
NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the three operations.
He stated that the objectives of the sustained simultaneous kinetic air operations were obviously aimed at ramping up the pressure on terrorists’ elements in the North-East and North-West with a view to ensuring that relative peace is achieved.
He also appealed to Nigerians to continue assisting troops with useful information as regards the activities of terrorist elements around their communities, just as he reassured them that the NAF and other security agencies were working round the clock to checkmate their activities.