NAF Air Display
NAF Air Display

NAF Aircraft Eliminate 100 Armed Bandits in Zamfara

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), through the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI (AC OPHD) has decimated 7 armed bandits camps and neutralized close to 100 armed bandits in air interdiction missions executed under subsidiary Operation WUTAN DAJI 2 from 12 – 16 September 2020.

During the subsidiary operation, which was aimed at taking out some identified locations in Zamfara State, including hideouts within the Doumbourou and Kwiambana Forests as well as at Dutse Asola and Dutsen Bagai, the Air Component conducted 18 missions in 82 sorties, flying over 100 operational hours with about 36,000 litres of Jet A1 fuel expended. This was disclosed today, 17 September 2020, when the Air Component Commander of the Operation, Wing Commander Ahmed Hamidu, briefed the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on the conduct of the Operation. The CAS, who was in Katsina on an Operational Visit, commended the AC OPHD for the successes so far recorded. He however urged them to sustain the intensity of operations in order to deny the armed bandits safe havens as well as curtail their ability to attack innocent civilians. While in Katsina, the CAS also inspected facilities and ongoing projects at the NAF Base and interacted with the pilots as well as other officers, airmen and airwomen of the AC OPHD.

Speaking after the briefing and inspection, the CAS expressed his satisfaction with the level of progress made and results achieved. He therefore commended the Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command (AOC SOC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Charles Ohwo, as well as the Air Component Commander and his staff for their commitment towards securing the lives and properties of people in the affected areas. While stating that the subsidiary Operation WUTAN DAJI 2 was part of the overall effort to eliminate armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other criminal elements from troubled parts of the North West and North Central Zones of the Country under the Defence Headquarters (DHQ)-led Operation HADARIN DAJI, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the missions conducted had translated into the relative peace being experienced in Zamfara and surrounding States. He reiterated that the NAF would continue to work in synergy with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies until lasting peace is restored to all parts of the Country.

The CAS added that he had also noted the infrastructural gaps in the NAF Base Katsina which, he said, the Service is working hard to address in order to ensure that personnel who are conducting combat missions and maintaining the aircraft have conducive work and home environments to enable them be more effective in carrying out their various tasks. In this regard, Air Marshal Abubakar expressed the appreciation of the NAF to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his immense support that had enabled the Service to acquire new aircraft and reactivate erstwhile unserviceable platforms, conduct robust and result oriented training as well as provide necessary infrastructure and meet other welfare needs of personnel. He noted that this had empowered the Service to continue to contribute meaningfully towards ensuring the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.

While addressing the personnel, the CAS urged them to continue to contribute their quota towards mission accomplishment. He said HQ NAF, on its part, would ensure the sustained availability of aircraft and associated equipment, along with the necessary logistics support at various airfields. He therefore urged the personnel not to give the bandits any breathing space but sustain the tempo of operations by locating all remaining bandits’ camps and neutralizing the criminals, wherever they may be found.

The CAS was accompanied on the visit by the Chief of Training and Operations, AVM James Gwani; Chief of Aircraft Engineering, AVM Musibau Olatunji; as well as Chief of Logistics, AVM Mohammed Yakubu, and other senior officers from from Headquarters NAF.

Meanwhile, in its continued efforts to provide support for the Government and people towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic in the Country, NAF distributed over 140 cylinders of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) to 2 Isolation Centres in Abuja. The beneficiary Isolation Centres are the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwawalada and the Department of State Services (DSS) Medical Centre, Asokoro. Before today’s distribution in Abuja, the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yola and Adamawa State Specialist Hospital as well as other Isolation Centres in the Country had been benefiting from the NAF’s LOX distribution. The oxygen was produced by the NAF LOX Plant at the 103 Strike Group (103 STG), NAF Base, Yola, which was commissioned on 10 July 2017. The LOX Plant has the capacity to produce 1,000 litres of liquid oxygen every 8 hours, which is in excess of the NAF’s requirements for its air operations and for use in its Medical Centres across the Nation.

Speaking while taking delivery of the oxygen cylinders at the flight line of the 307 Executive Airlift Group (307 EAG), Abuja, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Chief of Medical Services, Air Commodore Gideon Bako, emphasized that the NAF would continue to support the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response through the provision of LOX as well as the availability of its medical facilities for use as isolation centres whilst sustaining the conduct of airlift support operations and medical outreach programmes. He further disclosed that, the NAF’s LOX Plant at the 103 STG NAF Base, Yola, runs 24hrs to ensure uninterrupted production of pure LOX. According to him, the LOX is gasified and stored in cylinders for supply to Isolation Centres and designated hospitals as part of the NAF’s contribution to efforts aimed at tackling the COVID-19 emergency.

It would be recalled that the NAF, at the height of the Pandemic, converted its Accident and Emergency Unit at 063 NAF Hospital (063 NAFH) in Abuja to a COVID-19 Management Centre. The facility provided a 25-Bed COVID-19 Observation and Treatment Centre with a small Operation Theatre and sections to treat serious symptomatic COVID-19 cases as well as observation and treatment of mild and asymptomatic cases. Also, as part of its contributions towards fighting the pandemic, the NAF, in May 2020, unveiled 2 emergency ventilators locally produced by a Team of Researchers from the Air Force Research and Development Centre and Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna in partnership with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the Department of Mechatronics, Federal University of Technology, Minna.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force
17 September 2020