In the aftermath of last week’s night’s attack on a Kaduna-bound train, the Nigerian military has launched ground and air attacks, killing 100 bandits and terrorists in the troubled north west Kaduna and Zamfara states.
While 52 bandits were killed in Zamfara, 33 were killed in Kaduna and 15 in north east Borno State on Saturday.
In the simultaneous airstrikes, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets were deployed for the offensive which targeted Sangeko Forest in Zamfara, New Kusawa in Kaduna and Tumbuns in Borno State. The spokesman of NAF Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet confirmed the three operations.
The offensive was specially carried out using sophisticated military equipment, including fighter jets, to drive a message home to the terrorists who bombed the train killing nine people and injuring 41 others, with 27 reported missing.
Simultaneous air strikes
Mr Gabkwet said that the simultaneous air strikes were meant to restore peace in the region.
A ‘”spy operative” in the Nigerian military said after days of intelligence gathering in the northeast, they discovered that terrorist activities in Tumbuns near Bukar Meram and Kollaram had heightened.
According to the operative, insurgents had converted the location into an important rendezvous point for fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap).
“Further intelligence revealed that a large stockpile of weapons was concealed in the two locations in anticipation of terrorists’ offensive operations.
“Subsequently, NAF aircraft were authorised to attack the locations. In coordination with other platforms, bombs and rockets were simultaneously dropped on the targets, while surviving and fleeing terrorists were mobbed.”
He said that also troops of Operation Hadarin Daji carried out “aggressive bombardments” when one fighter jet sighted terrorists on motorcycles in Sangeko Forest in Maru local government area of Zamfara State.
The terrorists, upon sighting the aircraft immediately dispersed in confusion, a military intelligence source said.
“It was, however, too late as the fighter jets took decisive turns in engaging the terrorists with cannons in successive passes, leading to the decimation of the miscreants and destruction of their motorcycles.”
As the air strikes continued in Zamfara, some bandits were reported to have attacked soft targets, killing 35 people, including a village head.
The bandits attacked five communities in Anka local government area of Zamfara State and also stole livestock.
The state has become one of the epicentres of banditry in Nigeria, with armed men raiding villages.
The gunmen have killed hundreds of residents, kidnapped many others and destroyed farmlands.
Elite officers secure expressway
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Police Inspector General Usman Alkali Baba has deployed special elite officers to secure the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, which kidnappers have turned into a killing and kidnapping centre.
He personally conducted an assessment of the road.
Mr Fidet Okhiria, the managing director of Nigeria Railways Corporation, said in a statement that the corporation was collaborating with relevant authorities to ensure the safety of passengers.
“The corporation is seriously collaborating with the security agencies who had already swung into action in line with the directives to do everything possible to rescue all those that are still missing,” he said.
He added that the corporation had also heavily moved human and material resources to the accident site to ensure resumption of train services without further delay.