The Nigeria Airforce said on Wednesday that as part of its sustained efforts towards eliminating the remnants of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and other terrorists’ groups in the North East of the Country, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) has attacked over 33 different BHT targets and flown close to 1,700 hours in the last 4 months.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director, NAF Public Relations and Information quoted the ATFommander, Air Commodore Precious Amadi in a statement
“This was achieved in 889 Air Interdiction (AI); Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); Battle Damage Assessment (BDA); Close Air Support as well as Tactical Airlift missions executed in 1,075 sorties with about 1.6 Million litres of Jet A-1 fuel expended from 1 January 2020 till date”, he said.
Air Commodore Amadi disclosed this while briefing the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, during the CAS’ Operational Visit to Headquarters ATF (HQ ATF) Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base, Maiduguri.
The Commander noted that the ATF had continued to pursue its mandate of contributing to the total defeat of the BHTs in order to bring peace to the North East.
According to him (Amadi), in the First Quarter of 2020, the ATF conducted several subsidiary independent operations including Operations Rattle Snake 2 & 3 and Operation Decisive Edge, while also providing effective support for the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and allied partners in order to decimate, dislocate and deny the BHTs freedom of action.
He further revealed that the ATF, with its sustained aerial bombardments of identified BHT targets, has continued to shape the battlespace to create the enabling environment for the OPLD Land Component to operate more effectively as evidenced by the successes recorded in the ongoing joint subsidiary operation, codenamed Operation Kantana Jimlan.
Speaking during the visit, which also featured the commissioning of a newly constructed and equipped Operations Centre as well as a new Senior Non-Commissioned Officers’ (SNCOs’) Mess and new Block of 30 units single bedroom accommodation for Airmen, the CAS expressed delight with what had been achieved during the period.
He commended the Commander as well as his officers and men for the successes recorded, noting that, as a result of the air operations conducted by the ATF, several top BHT and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) leaders had been killed while their Camps and Logistics facilities had been destroyed, thereby curtailing their operations.
He however charged the officers and men not to rest on their oars but remain resolute to ensure total defeat of the insurgents.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the security challenges facing the Nation were obstacles to the Country’s developmental aspirations that could only be surmounted through collective efforts.
He noted that the NAF, through the ATF, had continued to perform very critical roles in providing the much needed air support required for ground operations.
The CAS further noted that, in pursuit of the NAF’s constitutional role and in line with his Vision for the Service, he had constantly sought not only to evolve strategies that would enable the Service to adequately project Air Power to effectively and efficiently deal with prevalent security threats, but to also ensure that personnel welfare is given utmost priority.
He assured the personnel that their accommodation needs would continue to be addressed to ensure that every airman serving in Maiduguri is properly quartered.
“In line with my Vision, the NAF will continue to do its best to ensure that accommodation problems are eradicated in the Service”, the CAS reiterated.
He added that this was the reason why more blocks of accommodation were being built to pave way for the deployment of additional personnel to boost the Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations.
The CAS also stated that, with the recent additions to the welfare package of NAF personnel in Maiduguri, he expected the troops to reciprocate by dealing harder and more effective punches against the remaining elements of the terrorists.
According to him, “I urge you not to relent as we have to continue fighting until the insurgents are completely eliminated.
It is our professional duty to protect Nigeria from the menace of insurgency.
Your efforts and sacrifices, both individually and collectively, are highly appreciated.
Thus, I re-assure you of continuous provision for the effective discharge of your duties”.
While reaffirming the NAF’s unwavering commitment to the execution of its constitutional roles in the ongoing COIN efforts, Air Marshal Abubakar also seized the opportunity to express the gratitude of the Service to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his support towards the achievement of its desired Air Power goals.
He equally implored personnel to stay safe and follow all the guidelines, stipulated by both National and State Authorities, to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier, while delivering his welcome address during the commissioning, the ATF Commander thanked the CAS for making it a priority to visit the frontline troops and for his untiring efforts at executing projects to make them more effective in the discharge of their duties.
According to him, the newly commissioned and well-furnished SNCOs’ Mess would provide an atmosphere for relaxation for the personnel after work, whilst fostering discipline amongst the airmen/airwomen.
He equally noted that the new Operations Centre would further enhance Real Time Monitoring of air operations being conducted by the ATF.
The Commander noted that the new projects, coming barely 2 months after the commissioning of the new Aircraft Hangar that has enhanced the personnel’s level of comfort in carrying out aircraft maintenance activities, were indeed morale boosters.
He therefore reassured the CAS of the ATF’s unflinching commitment towards ensuring success in the fight against insurgency.
The CAS, who was accompanied on the visit by Branch Chiefs and Directors from Headquarters NAF, has returned to Abuja.
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