The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has neutralised a terrorist leader Alhaji Shanono following an operation in Kaduna State.
NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said this in a statement issued on Wednesday after the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amao’s visit to the State.
“Indeed, following receipt of intelligence on 9 August 2022 that a well-known terrorists’ kingpin, Alhaji Shanono, had scheduled a meeting with his foot soldiers at Ukambo, a village about 131 km from Kaduna, the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch dispatched aircraft for interdiction mission at the location,” the statement added.
“Overhead the location, terrorists were sighted under clusters of trees at the foot of Ukambo high ground and after ensuring the absence of civilian settlements within the location, the crew received the authorization to strike.
“Feedback from local sources disclosed that over 30 rifles and 20 motorbikes were destroyed while about 18 terrorists, including Alhaji Shanono, were neutralized while others sustained various degrees of injuries. Sources also revealed that not less than 26 kidnapped victims earlier held by the terrorists were released as a result of the airstrike.”
In other strikes in the northeast region, NAF said “one of such operations was conducted on 6 August 2022 at Gazuwa, about 1.2 kilometers to Gargash, after intelligence revealed that infighting for relevance and supremacy was underway between terrorists of the Shekau faction and terrorists aligned to Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP). The state of confusion and disorder among the two terrorist factions thus presented an opportunity for a surprise strike by NAF pilots which was carried out using 2 aircraft types.
“It should be noted that though the map coordinates led the pilots to the exact site of the infighting, the location also had an ISWAP flag hoisted on the structure and three solar panels on the rooftop.
“Intelligence received and corroborated by local sources revealed the strike was a success as the terrorists did not anticipate it with several eliminated and others injured.”
The NAF spokesman quoted the Chief of Air Staff as calling on the commanders to stay focused.
“We can’t afford to let down our guards,” he told them.