The Nigerian Air Force has killed scores of Islamic State West African Province terrorists in the Mallam Fatori area of Lake Chad in Borno State, and demobilised four of their gun trucks.
According to the military, the ISWAP commanders were tracked by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole and troops of the Nigerian Army, 89 and 97 Task Force Battalions of Sector 3 during a joint operation on Wednesday.
While the NAF aircraft provided close air support and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform, the troops engaged the terrorists, forcing them to retreat into the bushes.
The Air Force Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the terrorists were dislodged through a “combined sustained, intensive fire rained from the air and on the ground.”
The NAF spokesman said in a statement, “The ISWAP fighters suffered losses in a joint counter-offensive operation. The routing of the terrorists took place, sequel to the receipt of intelligence reports on the movement of the ISWAP fighters in some gun trucks towards the troops’ location in Malam Fatori.
“In response, the ATF scrambled two NAF attack aircraft to provide Close Air Support as well as an ISR which provided enhanced situational awareness for the ground troops as they engaged the terrorists. The platforms tracked the fleeing terrorists, immobilising four gun trucks and neutralising the fighters as they attempted to escape.”
Meanwhile, the air force had reached out to the Indian government to strengthen strategic partnerships to ensure effectiveness in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminalities in the country.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, led a delegation of senior NAF officers to India to seek for avenues to strengthen strategic partnerships, according to the NAF spokesman on Thursday.
“The visit is at the instance of the Indian government through an invitation extended by the Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria,” Daramola added.
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