The Nigerian Air Force is set to deploy its newly assembled Agusta 109 helicopters, Katsina and other North-Western states currently ravaged by bandits, Saturday Punch has learnt.
The helicopters are expected to complement existing efforts being made to combat the rising killings and kidnappings in the region, it was further learnt.
The power-attack helicopters were unveiled at the 55th anniversary of the Air Force on Monday.
Speaking with Saturday PUNCH exclusively on Friday, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said more personnel would also be deployed in the region to combat the escalating violence and killings.
He noted that the Air Force would on Saturday open a helipad in the Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State to serve as an operational base for its fighter aircraft deployed in the region.
The helipad, Daramola said, would be opened by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai.
There have been growing concerns over the spate of killings and kidnappings in the northern region, especially North-Western states like Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had while speaking at the quarterly Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council meeting in Kaduna said that owing to banditry and communal violence, 436 deaths were recorded in the North-West between January and April, 2019.