The Nigerian military says its Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji has neutralised some notable leaders and several members of the criminal group in airstrikes in the Zamfara State section of Kagara Forest.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, John Enenche, a major-general, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Mr Enenche said the feat was achieved on July 9, sequel to intelligence reports that armed bandits had moved with a large number of rustled livestock from Sokoto State side of the forest and set up camp in the Zamfara portion.
According to him, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions also later confirmed the exact location of the camp.
He explained that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and helicopter gunships were dispatched to engage the location.
“As the attack aircraft approached the camp, some of the bandits and their leaders were seen fleeing towards the surrounding bushes. Consequently, the attack aircraft struck the area of vegetation taking out several of the bandits.
Intelligence sources later confirmed that eight bandit leaders and no fewer than a dozen of their fighters were killed as a result of the strikes
“The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has commended the troops for their professionalism.
“He also urged them to remain resolute in the conduct of air strikes whilst continuing to provide close air support for ongoing ground operations in order to eradicate all armed bandits,” he said.
Mr Enenche also disclosed that troops of Operation Thunder Strike under the subsidiary Operation Accord, on Thursday, rescued three kidnapped victims from the bandits at Chikun in Kaduna State.
He said the troops responded to credible intelligence on the kidnap of some people by armed bandits from their farm in Gwazunu village, Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, the bandits escaped in disarray with gunshot wounds thereby abandoning the kidnapped victims.
“All the three victims were successfully rescued unhurt and have been reunited with their families.
“The Military High Command congratulates the gallant troops for their dedication and unwavering commitment and urges them to remain committed and sustain the onslaught against the criminals,” he added.