NAF Blasts Boko Haram Convoys in Gudumbali
The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, over the night of 14 September and early morning of 15 September 2018, tracked and destroyed some Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) vehicles as they were attempting to launch fresh attacks on ground troops locations at Gudumbali and Damasak in Borno State.
The mission was initiated following intelligence reports indicating that a convoy of BHT vehicles had been sighted within the Damasak – Gudumbali Axis. Accordingly, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform was dispatched to search for and locate the convoy of vehicles. The ISR aircraft spotted vehicles at a location 24 Km SW of Gudumbali heading in a Northwards direction. Consequently, a helicopter gunship was scrambled to attack the convoy.
The helicopter arrived the location and was vectored to the position of the vehicles, which, at the time, were about midway between Nigerian Army (NA) locations at Metele and Arege. Following communications with ground troops, the BHT vehicles were positively identified, isolated and attacked by the helicopter gunship in successive strikes. In the process, 4 of the vehicles were immobilized and their occupants neutralized. The ISR aircraft continued to track the remaining 5 vehicles, which initially dispersed but later regrouped and continued their retreat to Tumbun Rego. They were subsequently attacked at their harbour location by the freshly rearmed helicopter gunship; with 3 direct hits recorded on the vehicles.
A follow-up attack on the newly discovered insurgents’ logistics base in Tumbun Rego was conducted by 2 Alpha Jet aircraft later in the morning today. The makeshift buildings and other facilities in the base were accordingly destroyed in the air strike. The NAF, working in concert with surface forces, will sustain the momentum of operations with a view to destroying vestiges of the insurgents in the Lake Chad green fringes and other areas in Northern Borno.
Meanwhile, in continuation of his visits to Nigerian Air Force (NAF) units across the country to assess operational effectiveness, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, visited Kaduna on 14 and 15 September 2018. The units visited include the Military Training Centre, NAF School of Medical Sciences, Air Force Comprehensive Secondary School (AFCS) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). While in Kaduna, the CAS, who was accompanied by senior officers from NAF Headquarters, also commissioned the newly constructed and furnished Headquarters Air Training Command (HQ ATC) Complex and HQ ATC Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) Quarters as well as a new Sport Complex at AFCS Kaduna.
While speaking during the commissioning ceremony, the CAS said that the HQ ATC Complex and other facilities being commissioned were further evidences that his vision for the NAF was gradually being realized. He noted that upon assumption of office, he had determined that he would reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives. He noted that he had recognized at the time that the Service could only be repositioned if it had the right structure, right manpower disposition, right equipment holding as well as the right welfare incentives.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar remarked that the desire to have the right structure led to the unbundling of the erstwhile Training Command (TC) into 2 Commands, namely Ground Training and Air Training Commands (GTC and ATC), among other major structural changes made within the past 3 years. Similarly, the quest for the right manpower disposition necessitated an increase in recruitment, which has led to the enlistment of 7,244 airmen/airwomen and commissioning of 400 Direct Short Service Commissioned officers in the last 3 years to meet the manpower needs of the new structure and populate the new units created to adequately respond to security challenges in the country. In addition, the need for the right equipment, he noted, was gradually being met with the gracious support of the Federal Government through the acquisition of 18 brand new aircraft as well as the provision of resources and logistics support that facilitated the reactivation of 13 other aircraft, with another 2 expected to come on stream soon. Lastly, the imperative for the right welfare incentives has been met by the building and furnishing of new office and residential accommodation as well as renovation of some existing ones along with the establishment of new hospitals and schools in many NAF locations across the country.
Air Marshal Abubakar said it was gratifying that HQ ATC could now be moved back into NAF Base Kaduna after about 40 years of occupying a building in town. He noted that this would not only enhance administrative convenience but also improve operational effectiveness. He therefore commended the Logistics Branch and NAF Works Centre for completing the project on schedule. He urged the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) and staff of HQ ATC to ensure the complex was properly maintained.
Speaking earlier in his welcome address, the AOC ATC, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Idris, expressed the profound appreciation of the officers and airmen/airwomen of the Command to the CAS for his tremendous support and exemplary leadership. He thanked the CAS for numerous projects that had been executed in the Command’s area of responsibility, which has ensured conducive living and working environments for personnel to effectively contribute to the accomplishment of assigned tasks. The AOC pledged that the personnel of ATC would continue to work hard, train hard and put Service before self in the performance of their duties.
The new HQ ATC Complex consists of offices for the AOC, PSOs and other staff as well as conference rooms, an operations room and restaurants for both officers and men, while the PSOs Quarters consists of 10 furnished blocks consisting of 2 units of 2 bedroom flats each. The new Sport Complex at AFCS Kaduna, which was only recently upgraded into a boarding school last year, has a football field and running track with a pavilion as well as volleyball, basketball and handball courts. As part of the operational visit, the CAS also inspected ongoing remodeling of the former hospital into NAF School of Medical Sciences Facilities at NAF Base Kaduna as well as some projects executed by the Commandant AFIT at the Institute. The CAS and members of his entourage have since returned to Abuja.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force