The Nigerian Air Force, in an air raid Sunday morning, killed the leader of a terrorist gang operating in Zamfara, Abdulkarimu Faca-Faca. Mr Faca-Faca’s two wives and eight top commanders were also killed in the raid.
The air raid was conducted around 3 a.m. Sunday at the ancestral home of the terrorist, Marina, a community in Safana Local Government in Katsina State.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively gathered from a source at the Forward Operation Base (FOB) in Katsina that the air raid was conducted after officers received an intelligence report on the whereabouts of Mr Faca-Faca.
The FOB spokesman, Abdul Olaitan, did not respond to a questions sent to him about the raid, but the police spokesman in the state, Gambo Isa, confirmed that the home of the gang leader was bombed.
“Eight suspected terrorists including their leader Abdulkarim Faca-Faca were killed in yesterday’s NAF raids and this morning in the same area for mop-up operation, terrorists fled but all their rustled cows perished as many escaped with bullets wounds. Verify please,” Mr Isa said in a WhatsApp message.
The member representing Safana at the Katsina House of Assembly, AbdulJalal Runka, also confirmed the air raid.
Two residents of Safana told this newspaper that there were a series of air raids in the area. They said the raids have forced some residents of the area to abandon their homes for safety.
The source at the Forward Operation Base who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said Mr Faca-Faca was one of the highly marked bandits in the area.
“He was of interest to us because of his notoriety. You know some of them only engage in cattle rustling or kidnapping but he did every crime. He was into cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed robbery and ruthless attacks,” said the source who asked not to be named as he has no permission to speak to journalists.
He said Mr Faca-Faca was notorious for threatening other bandits who accepted dialogue with the state government thereby making some of them renege for fear of being killed.
“We received two intelligence reports all confirming that he (Mr Faca-Faca) would be sleeping at home before our officers set out for the raid,” he said.
He said two helicopters and a jet were used for the air raid while another jet was sent for a mop-up around 10 a.m. on Sunday.
According to the officer, MI 17, Augusta helicopter and an Alpha jet were used to carry out the raids.
“This morning again (Sunday) around 10 a.m., we moved in for a mop-up and as expected, some of the bandits who were conducting a burial for their leader were killed too. I can’t tell you how many of them have died, they were many,” he said.
He added that two of the bandits’ leader wives who were with him in the house were also killed.
“We’ll only know the actual number later,” the source said.
A resident of Safana, Shamsu Masud, said the dead terrorist was notorious for leading attacks on communities in Safana, Danmusa, Batsari and some parts of Zamfara State.
He said Mr Faca-Faca was in the habit of threatening communities for providing intel to security personnel.
“Last year, he attacked one Mani Dogo, a repented bandit leader here in Safana. He said Mani Dogo was giving information to the police and the Katsina Government. It was a battle of weapons between them but Faca-Faca killed most of Mani Dogo’s boys. He (Mani) has not been seen since that time,” he said.
Asked if he had heard of the raid, Mr Masud said many bandits crossed into some parts of the town (Safana) Sunday morning while fleeing from the air strikes.
“We saw them on their motorbikes while some people said they saw bandits on their feet but I only saw those on motorcycles and they were not carrying guns,” he said.