By Augustine Ehikioya
Topmost and dreaded bandits leaders, including Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga have been reportedly killed by military aircraft strikes at bandits’ strongholds in Zamfara State.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft under Operation HADARIN DAJI had struck the bandits strongholds in Gusami Forest and West Tsamre Village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area in the early hours of Saturday as Nigerians were marking the New Year.
Over 100 bandits, who converged at Alhaji Auta’s residence for his burial at dawn, were also said to have been struck by the military aircraft.
The latest development in the area was gathered by Security Watch Africa (SWA) on Saturday.
“There are strong indications that Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft under Operation HADARIN DAJI, acting on credible intelligence, struck the enclaves of two key bandits leaders situated within Gusami Forest and West Tsamre Village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area in Zamfara State.
“The air strikes, which were carried our in the early hours of today, is believed to have eliminated some key bandits’ leaders, including Alhaji Auta, Kachalla Ruga as well as several of their cohorts.
“Sources also confirmed that over 100 other bandits on 40 motorcycles who had converged at late Alhaji Auta’s residence for his burial at dawn were struck with an unconfirmed number killed in the process.
“The same sources further confirmed that follow-up strikes were conducted by the aircraft on fleeing bandits and those who took cover under trees within the area with heavy casualties.
“For now, the whereabouts of other notorious bandits like Alhaji Nashama, Shingi and Halilu who are currently on the run remain unknown.
“Several locals spoken to stated that strikes of this nature by NAF aircraft, which have in recent times been precise and effective in hitting bandits’ enclaves and eliminating their leaderships and followers, will go a long way towards reassuring them of the commitment and dedication of the military and other security agencies towards bringing the threats posed by banditry under check in no distant time.
“They are agreed that for this to be effective, the need for them to continually provide the security agencies with credible information will go along way towards tackling the threats to their lives and livelihood.”