Scores of terrorists, including one of the notorious commanders, Alhaji Abdulkareem Lawal, aka Abdulkareem Boss, have been killed in airstrikes coordinated by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji, at the weekend.
The successful strikes were targeted at key terrorists’ enclaves and hideouts at Rugu Forest in Katsina State.
Boss, who has been on the radar of the Nigerian Military and other security agencies, was killed in the operation.
According to military sources, the deceased Boko Haram Commander was based in the Marina area of Safana Local Government Area and was responsible for several terrorist attacks, animal rustling and kidnappings.
A source said: “He was known to regularly invite terrorists’ groups from other areas and regions to join him in attacks on targets.
“Specifically, he was part of the terrorist group that carried out attacks that eventually led to the death of the Nigerian Police Area Commander of Dutsin ma on 5 July 2022.
“Reports filtering in have since confirmed that Abdulkareem Boss was neutralised in the precision strike alongside 27 of his foot soldiers.
“Reports have also revealed that air strikes conducted by the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai at Degbawa near Mandara Mountain in Gwoza LGA of Borno State on the 3 August 2022 may have led to the death of a well-known terrorist Kingpin, Alhaji Modu, aka Bem Bem, and some of his fighters.
“It was revealed that Alhaji Modu, a key ISWAP Commander, had converged with others for a morning meeting on an intended attack before they were struck by an array of NAF assault aircraft.
“An assessment of the strike revealed that the entire location was levelled to the ground and sources have since revealed that no fewer than 20 terrorists were confirmed eliminated in the strike.
“Similar strikes were also conducted on terrorists’ hideouts around Abuja.
“Although Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance reports have since indicated that the terrorists fizzled out immediately after carrying out their nefarious acts, credible information have since revealed that threats within Abuja was being orchestrated by terrorists from their hideouts within Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara States.
“In view of this, NAF aircraft under Operation Whirl Punch were dispatched to undertake intensive air interdiction operation to degrade/neutralise the terrorists within their identified hideouts in Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Chikun LGA in Kaduna State and Kusasu, Kwaki and Kukere LGA in Niger State.
“The operations were aimed at forestalling them from further planning to cause mayhem within Kaduna and Niger states as well as surroundings around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“So far, the identified locations hit by NAF aircraft include Jan Birni, Kusasu, Kauwuri, Kwaki, Ukambo Hill within the Kwiambana Forest as well as Alhaji Chorki Location.
“These locations have been attacked decisively and were struck in successive passes until they went into flames, some casualties who were spotted to be struggling to scamper for safety were effectively mopped up.
“The positive feedback received from ground troops deployed indicated that the terrorists have suffered heavy casualties and their logistics bases razed to the ground.
“The successes of the air strikes underscore NAF’s indefectible commitment to ridding the entire Northern region as well as the FCT of terrorism in collaboration with other security agencies and restoring peace and sanity.”
The successes came about a week after the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Service Chiefs assured Nigerians of change in strategy and momentum during the National Security Council (NSC) meeting headed by President Buhari.
As a fallout from the meeting, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) directed the NAF operational and air component commanders to ‘show no mercy’ in decimating terrorists and insurgents in the country.
Giving details on the operation that took out there Commanders, a source said the successes were as a result of careful planning and coordination.
NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed that Abdulkareem and his soldiers were taken out in an operation on Saturday night.
He said operations were ongoing and updates would be given at the appropriate time.