Nigerian Air Force kills 20 bandits in Zamfara

An Alpha jet and Mi-35M attack helicopter of the Nigerian Air Force have bombed bandits in Yanwari and Mashema villages of Zamfara State, killing at least 20 armed men in the process.

Our correspondent learnt that the Air Force fighter aircraft, which were deployed in the state for Operation Diran Mikiya, came in contact with the group of gunmen at the locations on Thursday and attacked them.

According to NAF on Friday, the aircraft, in coordination with the ground troops, also engaged the bandits’ location with rockets and cannons, leaving many of them injured in the process as well.

The operation, which started on July 31, is aimed at locating and neutralising bandits and other criminal elements in the North-West with a view to restoring normalcy in the affected areas.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, confirmed the air strikes in a release on Friday.

He said, “Ground troops, while on clearance operations near Mashema, came in contact with a group of bandits at Mashema village and therefore requested for air support.

“Accordingly, a NAF Alpha jet and Mi-35M were scrambled. The combat aircraft engaged the bandits’ location with rockets and cannons, neutralising several of them and causing a few survivors to scamper in different directions.

“While still on armed reconnaissance, the combat helicopter located over 20 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, were engaged by the helicopters’ machine guns.

“Several were neutralised in the air attack while a few survivors, seen fleeing the location, were taken out in subsequent follow-up attacks.

“The operation will be sustained in coordination with other services and security agencies to stop killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities.”