Several terrorists, including Khaids Abbah Tukur, Maimusari, Bakura Jega, and others have been eliminated as a result of an airstrike recently conducted by the air component of Operation Hadin Kai at Mantari in the Gezuwa area of Bama Local Government Area (LGA) of Borno State.
The announcement by the Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet was made days after the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Faruk Yahaya; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao arrived in Maiduguri on Sunday to celebrate the yuletide with frontline troops.
The air strike was authorised after it was discovered that a Boko Haram terrorist commander, simply known as Ikirima, had stationed his fighters and gun trucks at Mantari village.
Ikirima, alongside other terrorists from other locations, had converged at the place with motorcycles and bicycles, according to Commodore Gabkwet.
The statement reads: “Subsequently, the authorisation for an air strike was given leading to the elimination of several of the terrorists and structures in the area.
“After the first wave of air strikes, some surviving terrorists found their way back to the same location to evacuate the bodies of those neutralized in the air strike.
“This thus provided an opportunity for a follow-up strike on the same location which has been confirmed very successful as over 100 terrorists were neutralised, with dozens said to be in critical condition.
“There were also confirmed reports that ISWAP (Islamic State in West Africa Province) and Boko Haram elements had perfected plans to resume active hostilities in the wake of the yuletide and forthcoming general elections.
“The timely intelligence received on their plans, especially their attempt to attack soft targets in Bama LGA thus helped in the successful air strikes which have reduced their will to regroup and attack innocent citizens.
“There is no doubt that the progress and gains being made especially by the air and ground troops has greatly contained an upsurge of terrorists’ campaigns within the Northeast zone in recent times.
“Both air and ground troops have however been cautioned on the need to remain focused on the end state”.
Commodore Gabkwet said that the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Air Staff have both commended the efforts of the air and ground troops as well as other security agencies under Operation Hadin Kai for the tremendous achievements being recorded in the theatre.
According to them, there has been a lot of improvement in the security situation in the region due to the ongoing operations.
He stated that both service chiefs paid special tribute to those who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the fight against terrorism and insurgency while also praising the commitment and uncommon sacrifices of the troops.