By Suleiman Umaru
Ahead of the February 25, 2023, Presidential elections, and President Muhammadu Buhari, promise to hand over a secure country to the next government, appears, to have encouraged Marshall Adebayo Olanyinka Amao, the Chief of Nigerian Air Force, NAF, to throw hi weight the air Component Whirl Punch to take the air strikes to the Bandits Group Camps in the forest in suspected Local government Areas I the state.
As a prelude to striking the suspected Bandits group Camps, the Commander, of the Air Component of the Operation Whirl Punch, who was said to have mobilised their fighter Jets on a reconnaissance mission along the Kaduna –Birnin Gwari roa, Burhu, Kurmin, Dande, Damba, Ungwa Yako, Udawa, Gagafada and Kamfmin Doka.
The Operation Whirl Punch, Air Force Personnel, wre said to have also extended their reconnaissance mission to Galadimawa, Kidndan, Dogon Dawa, Saulawa, Maidaro, Maganda, Goron Dutse, Sararai, Kushaka, Kuriga, Manini, Kuduru, Yelwa, Sabon Birni, spanning other Camps in Communities in Birnin Gwari, Giwa and Igabi Local government Area.
Given the Presidential mandate given to Gen. Lucky Irabor , Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, Lt. Gen. Yahaya Farouk, the Chief of Army Staff and Air Marshall Amao, the CAS, to wipe out the criminal elements operating in Nigerian forest to make the country safe for foreign investors to come in, may have informed why Air Mashall mao’s officers have extended the Reconnaissance operations to the KaunaAbuja road and Railway, including the notorious Jaka Rafi, Olam Farms, Rijana, Katari and Jere, occupied by the Bandits Group fighters.
The reconnaissance fighter jets, were said to have also been sighted by residents hovering around the forests in Hanawanka, Kukoti, Kadaga, Durumi, Porgu Geri and Kundu. The presence of the Air Component of the Operation Whirl Punch, fighter Jets in Ungwan Madaki in Kamazou, Chikun LGA Kutura, Iburu, Kajuu, Kschia an Kankomi, forest areas may hav sent a message to the Bandits Group fighters that General Irabor, the CDS, Air Marshall Amao, CAS, and Lt. Gen, Farouk, CoAS, have cued into Katsina state born Nigerian vision to wipe them out from the face of the earth.
Security report has it that the fighter Jets had struck at targets in the flashpoint Communities in the suspected LGAs, in the state, incuding the notorious Chikun, LGA, and destroyed several Bandits Groups Camp including that of the notorious Commanders Musa Pajelo and Kachallah Bello, who have been giving travelers along the Kaduna and Abuja road, a cause for concern over the years.
Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, ha said that the destruction of the Bandit Group’ Camps in Wawa area, Fadaman Funtua, and the killing of the Bandits sighted in Locations 4Km, southwest of Alhaji Ishiaka, 6Km, south east of Maguzawa and 2Km of Yelwa Area as well as those sighted in Danker, in Giwa LGA, was more devastating, that the Bandits Group fighters may be forced to drop the guns and run for their safety.
The Commissioner, disclosed that the aerial Patrol which had covered the Gwagwada forest, Kugosi Kabai, Kabusu Hills, Amara Hills, Sabon Gayan and Polewire Areas, had made the Bandits operating in the are to flee. It was gathered that the Aeria patrol officers had engaged the Bandits in an active Camp 4Km, south of Godani , around the Kaduna Airport Area and killed several of the Bandits while those who escaped would never forget their experience in a hurry. Last March, the Bandits Group fighters had attacked the Kaduna Airport, killing an official of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, . The Bandit gang were said to have invaded the Kaduna International Airport through the perimeter fence from a nearby forest.
Signs that Bandits Group Commanders and their fighters emerged last October when one Dogo, also known as Yello, and his gang members were killed in airstrikes, undertaken by the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch. The notorious Bandit, who was said to fled from Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former Nigerian military President to Giwa LGA, with this gang members for safety to escape the heavy bombardments on his Location in the north central state.
Dogo and his gang members were said to have killed while holding a meeting to plan their next of action at one Alhaji Gwarzo’s House in Giwa LGA, when the aerial Patrol jet, acting on information, struck at the House , leaving everybody in building , including Dogo, the Bandit Group gang Leader killed.
The death of Dogo, the Bandits Group Commander in the hands of the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch, may have informed why Air Marshall Amao, the CAS, had assured residents of Kaduna state that NAF, would continue to sustain the offensive operations against these Criminal elements who have established Camps in the forests in Collaborations with the ground troops of the Operation Whirl Punch and other security agencies to rid the entire north west geopolitical region of Banditry and the acts of criminality.
Also , in early November, 2022, the Air Component of the Operation Whirl Punch, patrol of Igabi, Chkun and Giwa, LGAs, in an identified Bandit Location where three Bandits Commander were said to have been killed by air bombardment of the forest.
In a related development the Bandits turned kidnappers i the north central state may have thought that it is still business as usual as they have blocked a section of Funtua-Zaria road at Gulbala Area of Giwa LGA with the intention to kidnap travelling passengers and escape to the forest to to ask for ransom. But this appears to have become a mission impossible in the recent time around, as theOperation Whirl Punch Troops are everywhere in the flash point Areas in the state to checkmate the Bandits Group activities. On November 18, 2022, a Bandits gang had kidnapped 76 persons along the Funtua-Zaria in the state but were rescued by a combine team of arm ed police and military operatives patrolling the Area.
In rescuing the 76, passengers i the who had fallen into the waiting hands of the Bandits at the Funtua -Zaria road, the state Police Command, Public Relations Officer had explained that following the incident, the combined team o Police and the military immediately Launched a search and rescue operation into the adjourning forest in the Area. He had said that the kidnappers , were found still with their victims. the combine Police and military rescue team, were said to have engaged them in a fierce battle and subdued them witheir superior fire power, forcing them to abandon their victims and escaped deeper into the for their safety.
Police preliminary investigation, the Police spokesperson had said confirmed that kidnapped victims comprising of males and females were travelling from Sabon Birnin LGA, of Sokoto state to different destinations when they were intercepted by the Criminal elements and disappeared into the forest until uck ran out of them, confirming the saying that ”everyday is for the thief but one day is for the owner of igthe house”. Indeed, this is exactly what had happened to the Kaduna state Bandits gang.
With the rescue of the 76 kidnapped passengers in the adjourning forest along the Funtua-Zaria road, the security agencies , operatives have sent a message to the Bandits turned kidnappers that it is no longer going to be business as usual and therefore, should drop their gun for peace to reign in the region. Many believe that Bandit gangs terrorising Kaduna state and other states in the north western geopolitical region knew they were in trouble with the deployment of the no nonsense Maj. General Taofeek Lagbaja, as the General Officer Commanding, GOC, I Division Kaduna in the recent shake of the Army under the close watch of Lt. General Yahaya Farouk. Tukur Buratai, Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic and former Chief of Army Army Staff, CoAS, is not surprisised at what the service Chiefs are doing , particular, Air Marshall Amao and Lt . Farouk, the CoAS, whom he had said would deliver on their mandate.