By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday said it had begun Operation RUWAN WUTA IV in furtherance of its offensive to root out remnants of Boko Haram insurgents from Sambisa forest and the Lake Chad region.
AVM IG Lubo, the Air Task Force Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, said this in Maiduguri at a news conference on the ongoing counter-insurgency campaign in the North-East.
Lubo said that the operation was in continuation of NAF’s operation in the theatre designed to destroy insurgents’ logistics base, cut their movement and provide support to the troops.
He explained that the operation would be conducted in conjunction with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in the northern fringes of the Lake Chad Islands to support ground troops against the insurgents.
“The insurgents had carted away armoured vehicles in a raid in Niger Republic and these vehicles were suspected to have been brought along our borders.
“The operation will target and destroy the vehicles and other logistics to deny the insurgents access to use them,” he said.
Lubo added that the Air Force had conducted various air raids, destroyed insurgents’ vehicles, logistics and enclaves under the Operation RUWAN WUTA III.
Earlier, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, the Theatre Commander, said the Air Force component had conducted a six-day air interdiction under Operation RUWAN WUTA III between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17, 2017.
Rogers said the exercise aimed to consolidate on the gains earlier recorded in Operations RUWAN WUTA I and II.
“It is to sustain and deny the insurgents the respite to re-organise and to carry out offensive against the troops’’.
“Key adversarial targets were identified and attacked in a series of air strikes.
“Beside the initial identified targets, intensive Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions were conducted to acquire other targets for interdiction.
“The Air Force provided close air support to land troops, as they conducted offensive and clearance operations against the insurgents at Arina-Chiki; Arina-Woje, Chukun-Gudu and Bukar-Meram.
“The synergy with troops culminated in the decimation of the insurgents as well as destruction of several technical, armoured vehicles and other logistics, thereby significantly degrading their capabilities”.
According to him, “the Air Task Force conducted a total of 71 missions in 94 sorties, within a total of 152 hours 45 minutes, while 142, 230 litres of aviation fuel were utilised by the various participating platforms’’. (NAN)