The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has recorded some early successes its ongoing Operation Diran Mikiya against armed bandits in parts of North West of the country.
The Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola in a statement on Friday, said the NAF combat aircraft neutralized several armed bandits during air attacks near Mashema Village and at another location 4km Southeast of Yanmari of the State.
Daramola said that on August 01, 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.
He said that a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft from Katsina and an Mi-35M from Gusau were scrambled. He said that close coordination with troops on the ground, the combat aircraft engaged the bandits’ location with rockets and cannons neutralizing several of them and causing a few survivors to scamper in different directions.
The DOPRI explained that the two aircraft subsequently pursued the fleeing bandits and thereafter neutralized them in follow-up attacks.
Similarly, he said while on armed reconnaissance on August 02, 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,” he stated.
Daramola reminded that Operation Diran Mikiya, which commenced on July 31, 2018, is an intensive air operation aimed at locating and neutralizing armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Northwest with a view to restoring normalcy in the affected areas.
He said the Operation will be sustained, in coordination with sister Services and other security agencies, to stop killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities.
He NAF however, solicited for credible intelligence from locals, traditional rulers, local government chairmen and other government functionaries to facilitate the success of the operation.