No fewer than 78 bandits have been neutralised by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji, in the continued bombardment of criminal hideouts in forest reserves in Zamfara State, The Nation has learnt.
According to a.highly placed source, the bandits moving into Kwiambana Forest Reserves on motor bikes were wiped out by the Nigerian Air Force fighter jets.
The source said: “A 3-day intensive military operation led by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji.
In its resolve to rid the region of banditry, the air component focused on locations with high concentration of bandits such as South of Dansadau town and North of Kwiambana Forest Reserves in Zamfara State.
“Specifically, on 2 August 2021, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) surveillance platforms overhead these locations locked on armed bandits on bikes moving into Kwiambana Forest Reserves.
“Diligent tracking of their movement led the platforms to an extensive and well concealed camps with numerous huts”.
The source added: “Accordingly , using a mix of NAF Alpha Jet, MI 171 and Agusta 109 strike helicopters, bombardment of the camps commenced on the evening of 2 August 2021 in liaison with ground troops forming blocking forces around the targeted areas of the forest.
“Through these coordinated attacks, over 78 bandits were neutralised, and their camps destroyed.
“Informants and locals in the general vicinity also confirmed an exodus of surviving bandits from the forest. Further ISR by the air component confirmed a total abandonment of the camp by the surviving bandits.
“In another development, the NAF 404 Force Protection Group stationed in Kaduna, on 4 August 2021, arrested a 48-year-old bandits’ logistics runner named, Aminu Saminu, around the Kaduna International Airport.
“During interrogation, the culprit revealed that he usually disguises as a charcoal businessman to purchase food and other items for bandits at Bamba Village in Igabi Local Government Area (West of Kaduna International Airport).
“Useful information by the runner was availed to the Air Component that has engineered focus around the Kaduna International Airport environment and other areas with high bandits.”