By Paul Obi
Abuja — A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet on Tuesday neutralised several Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olutokunbo Adesanya, explained that “NAF Alpha Jet aircraft neutralised scores of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) while providing Close Air Support (CAS) to ground troops.
“The successful air strike by the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft followed calls from the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division of the Nigerian Army (NA) that troops conducting clearance operations at Koleram had come in contact with BHTs.”
He added that “the GOC therefore requested for support from the NAF, sequel to which the Alpha Jet aircraft was immediately scrambled to provide CAS. On arrival over the location, there were exchanges of fire between BHTs and our ground forces.
“The crew of a Nigerien Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft established contact with the ground troops and guided the Alpha Jet aircraft crew to the major source of fire from the BHTs, which was seen coming from a particular settlement. “Consequently, the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft engaged the target with rockets and cannons thus neutralising the BHTs and destroying their weapons. The Air Task Force will continue to conduct missions, on request, in support of the efforts of our troops in the counter-insurgency operations in the North-east.”
On the air surveillance operations in most of the Middle Belt states, where Fulani herdsmen killings have continued unabated, Adesanya told THISDAY that “the NAF is yet to deploy to Taraba State but would be doing so very shortly. This is sequel to the establishment of a Quick Response Wing in Nguroje.
“It is important to note that NAF planned deployment to Taraba is not directly in response to the ongoing security crisis there but part of an already existing expansion plan by the NAF to bring security closer to the people. Other NAF operations are ongoing,” Adesanya added.