A terrorist leader, Alhaji Shanono and 18 others have been eliminated by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) following an intensive air operation in Kaduna State.
NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, disclosed this on Wednesday, August 10, after the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amao’s visit to the State to review ongoing operations and give further directives.
"In the Northwest specifically, the effect of strikes undertaken by NAF aircraft have revealed that several terrorists' have been eliminated and their enclaves destroyed. One of such strikes which occurred yesterday, 9 August 2022 resulted in the elimination of a well known terrorist leader operating in Kaduna State," the statement read.
"Indeed, following receipt of intelligence on 9 August 2022 that the terrorists' kingpin, Alhaji Shanono, had scheduled a meeting with his foot soldiers at Ukambo, a village about 131 km from Kaduna, the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch dispatched aircraft for interdiction mission at the location
"Overhead the location, terrorists were sighted under clusters of trees at the foot of Ukambo high ground and after ensuring the absence of civilian settlements within the location, the crew received the authorization to strike
"Feedback from local sources disclosed that over 30 rifles and 20 motorbikes were destroyed while about 18 terrorists, including Alhaji Shanono, were neutralized while others sustained various degree of injuries. Sources also revealed that not less than 26 kidnapped victims earlier held by the terrorists were released as a result of the airstrike
"Similar strikes were also undertaken in the Northeast as well. There, the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai had their tasks well cut out for them as they have been fully engaged in conducting air interdiction missions on terrorists’ targets in Borno State
"One of such operations was conducted on 6 August 2022 at Gazuwa, about 1.2 kilometers to Gargash, after intelligences revealed that infighting for relevance and supremacy was underway between terrorists of the Shekau faction and terrorists aligned to Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP)
"The state of confusion and disorder among the 2 terrorists’ factions thus presented an opportunity for a surprise strike by NAF pilots which was carried out using 2 aircraft types. It should be noted that though the map coordinates led the pilots to the exact site of the infighting, the location also had an ISWAP flag hoisted on the structure and 3 solar panels on the rooftop
"Intelligence received and corroborated by local sources revealed the strike was a success as the terrorists did not anticipate it with several eliminated and others injured
"The impact of the strikes is said to have reverberated through the remaining terrorists’ camps who are beginning to realize that they are fighting an unjust and lost cause that will no doubt lead to their death. Most are said to be contemplating surrendering just like others before them,"
The NAF spokesman quoted the Chief of Air Staff as calling on the commanders to remain steadfast and focused on the task ahead.
'We can't afford to let down our guards', he said.