Residents of the Sabon Fili Airport community in Kaduna state, Northwest Nigeria, were left terrified following a shoot-out between bandits and personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
The community, adjacent to the NAF outpost, were attacked by bandits between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. WAT, local sources confirmed. The bandits reportedly used the vegetation cover in the areas to facilitate their movements.
Sources described the experience as terrifying since the community is composed of retired civil servants and migrants from rural communities devastated by insecurity. NAF personnel, who overpowered the bandits, constantly assist in improving the community’s security.
Bandits have continued to pose a serious threat to rural communities and commuters in Kaduna. The ugly trend which could be traced back to 2013 in Kaduna started in 2013 following raids by cattle rustlers that killed at least 16 people.
According to the local vigilantes then, in the month of May and June of 2013, armed bandits had launched a pre-dawn raid on Kwasa-Kwasa village in Birnin Gwari District of Kaduna state, killing five people, including two soldiers and three local vigilantes guarding the village, Adamu Sarkin Noma, head of a vigilante group in the village had revealed then.
The attacks have become incessant since the start of 2020. On Feb. 4, armed bandits killed 11 people in separate attacks. The day before, six vigilantes were killed when gunmen invaded Kakangi village in the restive Birnin Gwari area.
On Feb. 12, over 20 people, including a family of 13, were reportedly killed by suspected bandits in an attack on Bakali village, Fika district of Giwa local government area of Kaduna state.
On March 2, at least 50 people were killed in multiple attacks by armed bandits on villages in an area of northern Nigeria rife with cattle theft and kidnappings, local officials said on Monday.
Sources said about 100 armed assailants stormed into the villages of Kerawa, Zareyawa and Minda in Kaduna state at dawn on Sunday, gunning down worshippers as they left a mosque for morning prayers before killing residents and burning and looting homes.
On March 18, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola reported a coordinated joint air and ground operations against bandits operating in Walawa, Yadi and Kuduru hills in Kaduna State.
NAF aircraft conducted a series of air raids targeting bandits camps in the area, resulting in the destruction of some of the logistics facilities and structures housing the armed bandits. The airstrikes were subsequently followed up by another operation by ground forces supported by NAF combat helicopters.
The NAF outpost in the community is part of the service deployment to complement internal security in the State. It includes a forward operating base in Birnin Gwari built-in 2019 to strengthen operations against Bandits.
NAF the Airport is also not spared. In an internal memo dated March 2 and reported by the Cable, FAAN asked staff to avoid early or late movements along the road to the airport.
The memo read: “The current insecurity state around our airport axis/road cannot overemphasise. The very recent attack on a FAAN staff and other commuters along the airport road close to NDA is a clear testimony. Hence it has become imperative to advise all airport staff to completely avoid early /late hours movement along the airport road.”
All FAAN departments are to adhere strictly to FAAN HQ early directive on the duty roster.
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