The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) claims to have killed over 100 terrorists, including some of their leaders, in an air strike on December 20 in Borno.
This is contained in a statement issued by the NAF Headquarters Director of Public Relations and Information, Edward Gabkwet, in Abuja on Sunday.
He said the interdiction mission was carried out by the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) in Mantari village in Gezuwa general area, Bama Local Government Area of Borno.
The director said among those neutralized were terrorist kingpins Khalid Tukur, Maimusari and Bakura Jega.
Mr. Gabkwet, an air commodore, said that following intelligence report of the attack, a Boko Haram terrorist commander, popularly known as Ikirima, went to Mantari village with his trucks, and was joined by terrorists on motorcycles from other places.
“After that, permission was given for an air strike, eliminating several terrorists and structures in the area.
“After the first wave of airstrikes, some surviving terrorists returned to the same place to evacuate the bodies of those neutralized in the airstrikes.
“This allowed for a follow-up strike at the same location, which has been very successful, neutralizing over 100 terrorists with dozens said to be in a critical condition.”
Mr Gabkwet said elements of ISWAP and Boko Haram had perfected plans to resume active hostilities after Yuletide and the upcoming general elections.
“Timely intelligence received about their plans, attempts to attack soft targets in Bamako therefore contributed to successful airstrikes and reduced their willingness to regroup and attack innocent civilians.
“Undoubtedly, the progress and achievements made by the air and ground troops in recent times have greatly increased the terrorist campaigns in the north-east area.
“However, both air and ground troops have been advised to remain focused on the latest situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) have both lauded their efforts and other security agencies under OPHK for the tremendous achievements being recorded in the theatre.
According to them, the security situation in the region has improved a lot as a result of the ongoing operations.
The couple, however, urged the troops to continue to give their best to completely rid the region of all terrorists.
They also paid special tribute to those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the fight against terrorism and insurgency while praising the commitment and extraordinary sacrifices of the troops as peace gradually returns to Borno.
While wishing them a Merry Christmas, the service chiefs extended the appreciation of President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians to the troops for their sacrifices and efforts.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the midday meal between service chiefs and frontline troops has become a regular routine to increase camaraderie among troops and boost their morale.
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