By Augustine Ehikioya
To flush out bandits and other criminal elements in the North West, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal, Oladayo Amao, on Tuesday visited Zamfara State and urged the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) component of Operation HADARIN DAJI (OPHD) to remain focused and vigilant.
He was in the state on operational tour of Air Component under Operation HADARIN DAJI (OPHD).
The CAS also took time to visit wounded airmen at the Federal Medical Centre and 207 Quick Response Group, Gusau where he assured them of NAF’s commitment towards their medical attention and complete recovery
According to a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet, and obtained by Security Watch Africa (SWA), the CAS said “the current onslaught against bandits and their activities has continued to yield the expected outcome hence the need to remain focused, disciplined and extra- vigilant until the security situation improves.
“This is not the time for you to be complacent or assume that we have overcome the enemy. Rather times like this calls for utmost discipline, alertness and extra focus on the task ahead.”
Amao commended them for their gallantry, dedication to duty “and resolve towards ensuring that the fight against banditry in the North West is brought to a conclusive end.”
Speaking earlier, the Joint Task Force Commander of OPHD, who also doubles as the General Officer Commanding 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Uwem Bassey, briefed the CAS on ongoing operations in Zamfara State and the entire North Western area.
Bassey informed the CAS that the operations have continued to yield the requisite results with bandits hideouts being destroyed and decimated.
Maj. -Gen. Bassey also “thanked the CAS for ensuring that the Air Component as well as the NAF Special Forces are well trained and equipped for deployment to operational areas in the Region.”
The renewed vigour exhibited by both Air and ground troops, he said, will no doubt be instrumental towards bringing the security situation in Zamfara State and environs to an end.
The statement also noted that the NAF Special Forces and its air element have continued to be key enablers and deciders in the fight against banditry in the North West.
“Indeed, in the last 2 months, several bandits have been neutralised through coordinated efforts between the air component, NAF Special Forces and other security elements in the theatre of operations.
“The joint operations, which is in its critical moments, has so far seen to the dislodging of key bandits’ leaders and their followers as well as the destruction of their strongholds,” it stated.