From Fatima Bukar, Abuja
In a move to put a halt to the activities of the notorious armed bandits who held the North-western states of Zamfara, Kaduna and parts of Katsina state on siege, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says, it has deployed troops and air assets to Katsina and Gusau, in support of anti-armed banditry operations in the area.
In a statement by the director of public relations NAF, Olatokunbo Adesanya, made available to newsmen in Abuja, Tuesday, NAF said, the deployment was a response to the directives of president Muhammadu Buhari to ensure a total crackdown on the armed bandits.
He said: “The deployment began on 29 July with the NAF C-130H aircraft airlifting required logistics in preparation for the commencement of operation Diran Mikiya, which commenced earlier today, July 31, 2018.”
Adesanya said the aim of the renewed operation was to ensure that bandits operating in the area are completely routed so that law and order can prevail in the affected states.
He said, fighter aircraft, helicopters, gunships as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms alongside necessary equipment and personnel had been deployed for the conduct of the operation, code named, ”Diran Mikiya”.
“The operation, which was being conducted in close coordination with other security agencies, would be executed with precision and high intensity to quickly degrade the armed bandits and pave way for the return of normalcy in the affected areas.
“There would be no hiding place for the armed bandits as the NAF would be employing all the means at its disposal to detect the movement and locations of the armed bandits,” he said.
He said that the new air officer commanding, Special Operations Command (SOC), AVM Samson Akpasa, has after the launch of the operation, conducted an aerial reconnaissance mission over Gusau and environs.
“The NAF continues to solicit credible intelligence from locals, traditional heads, local government chairmen and other government functionaries to facilitate the timely accomplishment of the task at hand,” Adesanya added.