Boko Haram, National, News, Nigeria, Nigerian Air Force, Olatokunbo Adesanya

Air Force launches fresh operation to rout remnants of Boko Haram insurgents

Olatokunbo Adesanya

• Military partners police, civil defence on patrol
• Army foils robbery attempt in taraba

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has launched a fresh operation, Thunder strike, to uproot the remnants of the terrorists in the North East.It noted that the exercise was to attack select locations of the insurgents, currently inaccessible by troops on account of the rainy season.In a statement yesterday in Abuja, NAF’s spokesman, Air Vice Marshal, Olatokunbo Adesanya, said the debut strikes resulted in the destruction of structures and death of all insurgents at settlements in Gargash, Borno State.

He noted that a NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft had observed the presence of the insurgents at a location, leading to its bombardment by the Air Task. The statement reads in part: “After the successful attack, some of the fighter platforms proceeded to an adjoining target, East of Gargash, where Boko Haram terrorists activities were also observed.

“Consequently, structures occupied by the terrorists within the settlements were destroyed while others died and fled.“Also, another wave of air strikes was launched to strafe the hideouts, killing many of the fleeing insurgents.”According to the statement, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, was still in Maiduguri, where he had gone to motivate the personnel and obtain firsthand information on the progress of the operation.

In a related development, the military is to collaborate with the Police Force and the Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to fortify patrol of volatile areas currently occupied by herders and terrorists.In an address at a training event in Abuja, the Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, said the initiative was informed by the need to boost the capacity of the armed forces on campaign planning at both operational and strategic levels.

He said: “The purpose of this course is to train officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria on campaign planning at operational and strategic levels.“The course is viewed as a precursor to entrenching collaboration in multi-agency training to enable us develop understanding and expertise in planning and execute campaign in either single, joint or multi agency level.”

Represented by Rear Admiral Dogara Albehu, Olonisakin noted that the five-day training, organised by the Defence Headquarters in collaboration with the British Military Advisory Team in Nigeria, was “specifically designed for participants, who are senior staff, to be trained and acquired fellows of Defence colleges and equivalent qualifications.”

He noted that the training was in line with his vision of ensuring “ a well motivated and equipped armed forces that are responsive to security commitment.” The programme had 30 participants cut across all spheres of the nation’s security architecture.However, the military expedition in Taraba, Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, yesterday foiled a robbery attempt in the state.

The incident, which took place in Chachangi town, Takum council area, followed a distress call from the public.Briefing newsmen at Ibi Local Council, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 23 Brigade, Major Kamarudeen Adegoke, said the troops succeeded in repelling the attempt.His words: “ During the encounter, the troops recovered one X locally made pistol with 10 X cartridge.”