The Nigerian Air Force says the Air Task Force of Operation Diran Mikiya has neutralised bandits in Sububu Forest, Birnin Magaji and Rugu Forest in Zamfara.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the successes recorded were in recent air interdiction and armed reconnaissance missions conducted from August 9 to August 11 which resulted in the neutralisation of the bandits.
Daramola said: “The successes were recorded in recent air interdiction and armed reconnaissance missions conducted from 9 to 11 August, resulting in the neutralisation of armed bandits in Sububu Forest, Birnin Magaji and Rugu Forest in Zamfara State.
“The attack at Sububu Forest was executed on the afternoon of August 9 following the discovery of bandits’ hideout within the forest.
“Earlier in the morning on the same day, the ATF had conducted a coordinated clearance operation involving NAF Special Forces at a suspected armed bandits’ camp on the outskirts of Galadi in the Northwest of Zamfara State.
“During this operation, the bandits were discovered to have vacated the camp and dispersed into the nearby Sububu Forest.
“Consequently, the ATF dispatched a combat aircraft for armed reconnaissance to seek out and destroy the bandits.
“The aircraft subsequently spotted a large number of bandits within the forest and neutralised them.
“Furthermore, on Aug. 11 the ATF conducted another successful attack that neutralised armed bandits at Rugu Forest.
“The mission was initiated based on credible intelligence that a location on the fringes of Rugu Forest near Ajia, in the Eastern part of Zamfara State, was being used by the bandits as a logistics staging area for the supply of arms and ammunition.
“Accordingly, a fighter aircraft and helicopter gunship were dispatched to attack the location within the forest. Upon arrival over the objective, several armed bandits were seen on motorcycles.
“They were attacked and neutralised in successive strikes by the 2 aircraft.”
He said that Operation Diran Mikiya, which commenced on July 31 is an intensive air operation aimed at locating and neutralising armed bandits with a view to stopping killings, cattle rustling and other criminal activities in the Northwest.
He added: “The NAF continues to solicit useful information from the general populace to facilitate the success of the operation.”