NAF Airstrikes Target Terrorists’ Hideout In Niger, Delta States


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By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

The Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch, has targeted terrorists’ hideouts in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State, killing numerous terrorists and demolishing their camps and hideouts.

Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet, Director of NAF Public Relations and Information, who made this known on Sunday in Abuja, said the airstrikes come on the heels of multiple terrorist attacks on villages and military locations in the State.

He said that the air strikes, one of which was carried out on Saturday, 27 April 2024 in Shiroro LGA, were executed at the stronghold of notorious terrorist kingpin, Mallam Umar and several other commanders located in the Alawa Forest area, and “were sequel to extensive Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations in the targeted area, revealing clusters of huts within compounds amidst dense vegetation, with a significant presence of armed terrorists loitering around the vicinity”.

According to Gabkwet, “painstaking intelligence earlier gathered had confirmed that these same terrorists were responsible for the recent attacks on ground troops at Bassa Community as well as multiple Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) incidences along the Pandogari-Alawa Road within the same LGA.

“Accordingly, the Air Component promptly deployed its air assets to decisively eliminate the terrorists, resulting in effective and maximum damage to the targets”, he stated, adding that a post-strike Battle Damage Assessment later confirmed the neutralization of several of the terrorists and the destruction of their hideouts, with positive consequences on their ability to attack surface forces as well as innocent civilians within the area.

Gabkwet said that similar air strikes were also carried out the same day in the Niger Delta region against economic saboteurs and oil thieves bent on illegally siphoning crude oil from mutilated pipelines while destroying the environment and ecosystems.

Surveillance over Ke, Egbema, Akaso Krakama, Krikama and Military Council Valley revealed retinue of illegal refining sites which were effectively destroyed by the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe.

“A Cotonou boat fully loaded with crude oil product was also observed at Akaso Krakama about to depart southwards and was subsequently attacked and destroyed”, Gabkwet said.

At Krikama, several cooking sites were observed and destroyed as well. In all, 18 illegal refining sites and 3 Cotonou boats were destroyed.

“These strikes have substantially weakened the potency of terrorist elements in the Northwest and oil thieves in the Niger Delta region to continually constitute a security threat to the well-being of the nation and its citizenry”, the spokesman said, adding that the NAF air operations, in collaboration with other security agencies, will continue across the nation through extensive situational awareness, constant patrols, and targeted interdiction of criminals’ safe havens.


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