The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, says the Air Task Force, ATF, of ” Operation Diran Mikiya” has successfully neutralised several armed bandits at Bayan Ruwa and Rugu Forest in the Eastern part of Zamfara.
Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
” The attack on Bayan Ruwa was executed following an encounter with a notorious group of bandits by own ground forces whilst conducting clearance operations on August 25,” Mr Daramola, an air commodore, said.
He said that the troops called for close air support and the ATF dispatched a ground attack aircraft as well as an attack helicopter to the location.
He said that the aircraft supported the ground forces of Sector 3 to inflict maximum damage on the criminal elements.
The director also said that on August 26, an attack helicopter on armed reconnaissance around same location sighted makeshift structures within a forested area suspected to be a new hideout being developed by the bandits that survived the attack of the previous day.
He said that the helicopter, subsequently, engaged the location, and some of the bandits, who were seen attempting to flee the location, were mopped up by subsequent follow-on attacks.
”Similarly, armed reconnaissance missions conducted on August 26 and 27, revealed the presence of some armed bandits at a settlement East of Hayin Alhaji as well as some warehouse-like structures deep inside Rugu Forest that were being used as hideouts by the bandits.
”Several armed bandits and a considerable number of rustled cattle were seen around one of the makeshift warehouses.
”Accordingly, the warehouses and the criminals operating there were attacked by the combat helicopters leading to the destruction of the makeshift buildings and neutralisation of several bandits,” he said.
Mr Daramola said that the ATF would continue to dominate the area through armed reconnaissance and air interdiction missions to completely decimate the bandits in order to ensure a return to normalcy in Zamfara and other states in the North-West.
He advised all persons involved in banditry in the area to renounce violence, surrender to security agencies and hand over their weapons.