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Military deploys more fighter jets in Borno, others

Military deploys more fighter jets in Borno, others

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Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim

Strong indications have emerged that Islamic militants from some North African countries are coordinating attacks against the Nigerian military in the North Eastern part of the country.

A military source told one of our correspondents in Abuja that security operatives came to this  conclusion when they   discovered  that many Arabs of Shuwa descent  and fair-skinned  people from Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia, Algeria and Niger, were among those whose bodies were found  after some of the recent encounters with the militants.

The source said, “We strongly believe that the foreign militants under the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are coordinating the attacks against our men in the troubled  North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

“We  have seen  fairs-skinned corpses and those of Arabs of Shuwa descent. We believe they are from countries like Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and  Somalia. It is very possible they are  helping the Nigerian insurgents like those in Boko Haram  in  coordinating attacks against our men.”

 Our correspondent learnt that  there were strong feelings in the military that the militants who still  have several bases in the thick forests of  the northern part of Borno State,  were among those   chased out of Mali   by the French and  the West African troops led by Nigeria.

The militants  are  said  be  be armed with Rocket Propelled Grenades and General Purpose Machine Guns which are more sophisticated than the AK 47 used by the  Nigerian troops.

Another security source told our correspondent that the RPG released to the Nigerian troops were obsolete compared to  those  being wielded by the  militants from North Africa and  their  Boko Haram  allies.

 Findings indicated that the level of preparedness and calibre of arms in possession of the militants were  responsible for ‘the  high casualty on the Nigerian side.’

 The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, had said during a press conference  a week ago that the Army lost 15 soldiers with nine others missing during the attack by militants in the  Kasiya Forest in Ngazai Local Government Area of Borno State.

Last Sunday and Monday morning, the insurgents launched another rounds of attacks on the Nigerian troops, necessitating the deployment of more fighter jets in the   troubled states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

It was learnt that the fighter jets immediately  commenced   monitoring the activities of the insurgents in  the three states which are  under emergency rule.

  The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, is said to be personally supervising the use of fighter jets and the Air Force personnel  supporting the   Army in the fight against the insurgents.

It was also gathered  that a major offensive planned by the   Army with aerial back up from the Air Force resulted in the killing of a good number of the insurgents on Monday night.

 Our source couldn’t give  the casualty figure in the latest attack.

 The Director of Air Information, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas, confirmed the deployment of Alpha jets as well as  M1, 35  and M1,34  helicopters    in the operational areas.

Anas also confirmed that  Badeh  was in Maiduguri to supervise the latest deployment  and the personnel of the Air Force  assisting the  the Army in the  campaign against terrorism.

 He said, “It is true; we have deployed M1, 35 and M1,34 helicopters and Alpha jet aircraft. They are there to support  the Nigerian Army in curtailing the security situation in the North-East.

 “I cannot give you the exact number but the figure is adequate to perform the role for which they were deployed. I know that in the past nine months, we have always had NAF helicopters there; they are engaged in patrol purposes, medical services, medical evacuation and also offensive roles;  that is, they are also used for attacks.

 “In addition to that, the Air Force has deployed Alpha jets aircraft to participate in the operation. I can also confirm that the Chief of Air  staff  was   in Maiduguri  to monitor  the deployment  and supervise our personnel who are involved in the operation.”

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