The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, says its Air Task Force, ATF, has commenced “OPERATION THUNDER STRIKE 2″ against the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, and has recorded successful strikes against the insurgents.
Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
” The Operation, which commenced on Sept.3, is an independent Air Interdiction Operation targeting selected Boko Haram terrorists’ locations within the fringes of Lake Chad and Sambisa forest in Borno.
” This is with a view to further degrading the remnants of the insurgents, curtailing their freedom of action and denying them bases from which they could launch attacks against our ground troops’ locations.
” On Day Two of the Operation, Sept.4, air strikes by NAF aircraft resulted in the destruction of Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts and neutralisation of scores of insurgents at three locations namely; Tumbun Rego, Sabon Tumbun and Tumbun Allura, all on the fringes of the Lake Chad.
” Tumbun Rego, which is located at about 140Km Northeast of Maiduguri, has been identified as a major logistics/communications base and staging area for the insurgents.
” Accordingly, the ATF detailed F-7Ni and Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the identified Boko Haram terrorists’ logistics/communications hubs,” Mr Daramola, an air-commodore, said.
He said that the identified hubs were subsequently destroyed by the strikes, adding that a number of solar panels were spotted and destroyed during the attack.
He explained that the attack on Sabon Tumbun was undertaken based on Human Intelligence reports, which were later confirmed following several days of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, indicating that the settlement was a Boko Haram terrorists’ tactical operations base.
The NAF spokesman said that the settlement also had some equipment and vehicles cleverly concealed under thick foliage.
” Accordingly, the settlement was attacked in successive waves of strikes by Alpha Jet, F-7Ni and Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships, leading to the destruction of Boko Haram terrorists facilities, equipment and structures in the settlement as well as the neutralisation of several insurgents.
He said that Tumbun Allura, another major operations base of the insurgents on the fringes of the Lake Chad, was attacked by Alpha Jet and F-7Ni aircraft.
” Overhead the area of interest, several of the terrorists were observed and the objective attacked leading to the complete destruction of one of the specific target buildings under a tree.
” Many of the fleeing insurgents were also mopped up by subsequent follow-on attacks.
” Meanwhile, at the time of filing this report, the Chief of the Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, was still in Maiduguri, where he had gone to motivate the frontline personnel while also obtaining first-hand information on the progress of the operation,” Mr Daramola said.