Nigerian Air Force bombards bandits in Katsina, Niger
The Nigerian Air Force has deployed its fighter aircraft to Minna, Niger State from where they are presently conducting air attacks on bandits and their locations in the North-West geopolitical zone.
The aircraft are shuttling between Minna and Katsina State, the air force said on Monday.
One of our correspondents gathered that three newly acquired attack helicopters – two Agusta 109 109P helicopters and one Mi-171E helicopter – would be deployed to the North-West states after their induction on Thursday.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in an interview with The PUNCH, said two attack helicopters were already operating from Minna, adding that the outcome of some raids on bandits would be disclosed to the public while others might be concealed.
He said, “In the North-West which includes Niger State, some fuelling facilities had been made available at the airport in Minna and aircraft have been deployed there. Two attack helicopters and other platforms would be shuttling from Minna to Katsina for operations.
“So basically, we have deployed air assets to Niger State, and we did not deploy them to go and relax. We are going to do the induction of new aircraft on Thursday and they are immediately going to be deployed. If we conduct raids, we will tell you, but of course, there are some raids that we will conduct and we may not necessarily tell you.”
NAF had last week Tuesday said it would deploy “additional air assets as well as its Regiment and Special Forces personnel” to the troubled areas in the North-West states.
The air force said the deployments were to curtail banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other related crimes.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had confirmed this when the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, met with him at NAF headquarters, Abuja.
“We have emplaced infrastructure at Daura in Katsina State and Gusau in Zamfara State to cater to the additional personnel and air assets that would be deployed. A helipad had been constructed at Birnin Magaji in Zamfara State,” the air chief noted.