The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and air forces of the Lake Chad Basin region countries have provided support to the ground troops assault to repel Boko Haram terrorists from Baga town in Borno State, North East Nigeria.
The Headquarters 7 Brigade Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Baga came under attack by members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) on the evening of December 26, 2018.
But the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said thag upon receipt of the information of the attack, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole immediately dispatched a NAF Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform along with 2 Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships to provide support for the troops to repel the attack.
Daramola in a statement on Friday said the NAF ISR aircraft, which was overhead the troops location as at 7.15pm, also worked closely with a Nigerien Air Force and another allied ISR aircraft that were also in the operation area at the time of the attack.
According to him, the ISR platforms were in contact with the ground troops and assisted in directing their fire against the terrorists, while the helicopter gunships engaged the terrorists at isolated locations destroying some of their vehicles and neutralizing some fighters.
He said the ATF also provided support for Nigerian Army (NA) and Nigerian Navy (NN) troops at the Naval Base at Doron Baga, which equally came under attack by ISWAP fighters on the morning of December 27, 2018.
The NAF Spokesperson said that ATF deployed two ISR platforms, two Helicopter Gunships and two Alpha Jet aircraft to provide ISR and close air support to the troops. After establishing communication with the ground troops, the location of the terrorists was ascertained and engaged by the Alpha Jet aircraft.
He stated: “The NAF and allied ISR platforms also spotted 2 ISWAP vehicles heading southwards from Baga and vectored the Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the vehicles, completely destroying one of them and neutralizing the occupants. In order to enhance the quality of coordination between the air and ground operations, the Theatre Commander and Maritime Component Commander were carried onboard the ISR platform during one of the flights.
“In all, the ATF conducted 20 missions in 21 sorties with a total of about 39 hours flown on 26 and 27 December in support of operations in Baga general area. A short video clip showing highlights of the support provided on 26 and 27 December 2018, along with a Battle Damage Assessment (BDA).”
Daramola also attached a video showing parts of the successful attack on the terrorists’ vehicles. Here is the video Link: https://youtu.be/QTTW9RA8YlQ
He stressed that the NAF appreciates the existing synergy with our gallant surface forces as well as our Regional Allies in adding value to our collective efforts to protect our territory and people.