The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has killed a terrorist kingpin, Alhaji Shanono, and 17 of his foot soldiers in Kaduna State.
Alhaji Shanono and his fighters were killed during a meeting at Ukambo, a village, which about 131km from Kaduna in an airstrike executed by the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
A high-ranking Air Force officer told LEADERSHIP that over 30 rifles and 20 motorcycles were destroyed while 26 hostages held by the terrorists escaped following the airstrike.
The feat is one among other operation successes recorded by troops in the area.
“The effect of strikes undertaken by NAF aircraft have revealed that several terrorists’ have been eliminated and their enclaves destroyed. One of such strikes which occurred yesterday, 9 August 2022 resulted in the elimination of a well known terrorist leader operating in Kaduna State.
“Indeed, following receipt of intelligence on 9 August 2022 that a well-known terrorists’ kingpin, Alhaji Shanono, had scheduled a meeting with his foot soldiers at Ukambo, a village about 131 km from Kaduna, the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch dispatched aircraft for interdiction mission at the location.
“Overhead the location, terrorists were sighted under clusters of trees at the foot of Ukambo high ground and after ensuring the absence of civilian settlements within the location, the crew received the authorisation to strike.
“Feedback from local sources disclosed that over 30 rifles and 20 motorbikes were destroyed while about 18 terrorists, including Alhaji Shanono, were neutralised while others sustained various degree of injuries.
“Sources also revealed that not less than 26 kidnapped victims earlier held by the terrorists were released as a result of the airstrike,” the source said.
He said similar strikes were also undertaken in the North-East, leading to the destruction of terrorists’ enclaves in Borno State.
Specifically, he said the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai on August 6, 2022 conducted air interdictions at Gazuwa, about 1.2 kilometers to Gargash, after intelligences revealed that infighting for relevance and supremacy was underway between terrorists of the Shekau faction and terrorists aligned to Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
“The state of confusion and disorder among the two terrorists’ factions thus presented an opportunity for a surprise strike by NAF pilots which was carried out using two aircraft types,” he added.
He stated that when the pilots arrived at the location of the infighting, the location also had an ISWAP flag hoisted on the structure and three solar panels on the rooftop.
“Intelligence received and corroborated by local sources revealed the strike was a success as the terrorists did not anticipate it with several eliminated and others injured.
“The impact of the strikes is said to have reverberated through the remaining terrorists’ camps who are beginning to realise that they are fighting an unjust and lost cause that will no doubt lead to their death. Most are said to be contemplating surrendering just like others before them,” the source added.
Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, was in Kaduna on Wednesday to review ongoing operations.
Air Marshal Amao while addressing the commanders reminded them of the need to remain steadfast and focused on the task ahead.
“We can’t afford to let down our guards,” the CAS said.