A military fighter jet and helicopter gunship have eliminated some bandit leaders and terrorists in Niger State, reports PRNigeria.
The bandit leaders and their ‘boys’, it was learnt, had launched violent attacks at several communities in Kontagora, Mariga and Rijau Local Government Areas of the State.
Aside from killing children, the criminals reported, also looted shops, razed many houses and rustled over a thousand cattle.
A military intelligence officer had told PRNigeria that it was bad weather that prevented Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jets from launching offensives against the ‘rampaging’ bandits.
However, the Air Component of Operation Gama Aiki on Wednesday dispatched an Alpha jet and helicopter gunship to the locations to take out the targets as the ground troops with local volunteers were moving in.
Credible intelligence from locals as well as land forces had indicated the movement of several armed bandits with rustled herds of cattle along Shadadi-Maundu axis.
An intelligence source involved in the operation said: “At Maundu, several armed bandits in black clothes were sighted running to take cover at nearby clusters of trees. Consequently, the aircraft took turns in engaging the targets.
“Additionally, at Shadadi, radio contact was established with the ground troops who reported movement of armed bandits and rustled herds of cattle towards Farin Doka – Bangi – Konam Dutse axis.
“Accordingly, the crew proceeded to the location to take out the targets. At Farin Doka, several armed bandits dressed in black clothes were sighted with large number of about 1000 plus rustled herds of cattle and were engaged with rockets. Fleeing bandits after the initial rocket strikes were mopped up with cannons.”
Local sources supporting the troops in the area confirmed the elimination of some of the bandit-terrorists.
“After the bombing by two aircraft one firing from far in the air and another that came later firing close to the ground, the surviving bandits were running away leaving their dead colleagues and the cattle
“This morning we have counted at least 37 bodies including some suspected to be their leaders,” one of the local vigilantes said.
PRNigeria learnt that the bandits at Shadadi-Farin Doka-Bangi axis were the same ones terrorizing Niger State, especially Kontangora-Magama LGAs.
In a related development, fighter jets of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in Kaduna State have killed scores of fleeing armed bandits.
However, PRNigeria gathered that a ground soldier lost his life after sustaining ‘terrible’ injuries from the military bombardments, he was caught in.
The terrorists, who were fleeing the onslaughts of troops in Niger, were intercepted at Labi, along Kaduna – Birnin Gwari road, a security intelligence officer, disclosed to PRNigeria.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the bandits were reported to be in contact with ground troops around the LABI general area.
“Subsequently, the contact with the troops led to the bandits taking the option of following another route to continue their movement.
“Effective intelligence efforts necessitated the blocking of their alternative route by the reinforcing ground forces and the dispatch of attack platforms bearing heavy armament for effective annihilation of the armed bandits.
“On arrival, visual and radio contact were established with the ground forces who described the direction of the bandits to the Crew.
“The armed bandits and herds of cattle were brought to instant doom as air strikes were conducted in close succession over the general area. Fleeing bandits were followed up and engaged decisively and with sincerity of purpose,” he said.