Armed ViolenceNews

Nigeria Air Force Loses 7 Men In Kaduna Terrorist Ambush

Seven operatives of the Nigeria Air Force died in a clash with terrorists in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria, after moving into an ambush.

About seven Nigerian Air Force ground forces died as they fought through an ambush set up by about 100 terrorists in Kaduna State, NorthWest Nigeria, on Saturday.

The encounter between the ground forces and the terror group occurred at Ungwan Laya near Birnin Gwari, one of Kaduna’s most volatile parts.

Both Al Qaeda affiliate Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan (Ansaru) and criminal gangs dwell in the remote areas of Birnin Gwari.

According to the Air Force spokesperson, the troops were able to fight their way through the ambush, killing dozens of bandits in the process.

He added that some NAF personnel paid the supreme price during the operation, while a few others sustained varying injuries. 

HumAngle understands that the Air Force has initiated a process to mitigate the threat faced by the troops stationed in 271 NAF Detachment, a Forward Operating Base opened in May 2019.

HumAngle also learnt that in Sept. 2020, a Flying Officer was killed when a patrol team engaged in a firefight with an armed group in Birnin Gwari.

In Jan. 2020, a NAF Aircraftman was killed and several others wounded when Ground Forces of the 272 Detachment encountered about 70 fighters at Ungwan Yako along Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road.

On July 22, 2019, a Flying Officer and aircraftman were killed when ground forces fought their way through an ambush set up along Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road.

NAF regiment exercise along Birnin Gwari Road.

Birnin Gwari is regarded as one of the most volatile parts of Kaduna and Northwest,  because of Al Qaeda affiliate Ansaru, and criminal gangs.

Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan More commonly known as Ansaru, is a breakaway faction of Jama’atAhl Sunnah li Da’way wa’l Jihad also known as Boko Haram.

Ansaru first came to prominence on Jan. 27 2012, days after a deadly Boko Haram attack in Kano killed at least 178 people and has been inactive for years following a series of security raids and the arrest of the group’s leader and members.

The group announced its return on Oct. 27, 2019, through the Al Qaeda propaganda channel, the Global Islamic Media Front which released a photo of Ansaru fighters and in the same year, the International Center for Investigative Reporting published its findings on a renascent Ansaru contributing to the growing insecurity in northwest Nigeria.

In Jan. 2020, Ansaru claimed its first attack since 2013, when it took responsibility for the attack on the convoy of the Emir of Potiskum (a town in Yobe State, Northeast Nigeria) Alhaji Umaru Bubaram, on the Kaduna-Zaria Highway in Kaduna.

On Feb. 5 2020, the police announced that the Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit, Intelligence Response Team and specialise operatives backed by the Police Airwing Helicopter conducted a raid on Ansaru camp Birnin Gwari.

During the operation, a Police Bell helicopter, which provided aerial and intelligence cover came under attack and sustained bullet damages.

On Aug. 13 2020,  NAF dispatched a group of helicopter gunships and fighter jets to target Ansaru position in the Kuduru forest in Kaduna State.

The security situation in Birnin Gwari continues to remain dangerous for security forces and civilians.

In January, four policemen attached to the Police Mobile Force – 9 PMF Squadron died repelling an attack on their convoy by an armed group numbering about 100 along the Birnin-Gwari-Funtua Highway.

Recently, residents of Randagi ward in Birnin fled their houses days after the area was attacked.  They were reported to have migrated to  Birnin Gwari town and neighbouring Niger State, north-central Nigeria.

At least six persons were killed when armed assailants opened fire on commuters along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, according to a statement by Samuel Aruwan, the Commissioner for Internal Security in Kaduna.

A few days ago, the Kaduna State Government confirmed that terrorists had killed 14 persons in  Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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