By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has deployed no fewer than 1,300 Special Forces to Benue and Zamfara states to restore normalcy following renewed killings and armed banditry in the two states.
The Air Force also disclosed that it had purchased an attack helicopter to tackle insecurity in the country, saying the Italian-manufactured Augusta 109 helicopter would soon be delivered to its custody.
Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who said this, yesterday, in Abuja, at the Chief of Air Staff First Quarter Conference, noted that while 1,000 of the special forces troops were moved to Zamfara to tackle armed banditry in the state, 300 others were deployed to Benue State following the renewed killings in the state.
Abubakar particularly said the specially-trained personnel were deployed in Zamfara and Benue states because of ceaseless security problems they were known for.
He also said the Special Forces would be deployed within the Zamfara-Sokoto-Kaduna axis to contend the spate of criminalities ravaging the North West.
He said:”Today, we have trained over 1,000 special forces elements that are contributing significantly in dealing with the issue of insecurity in Zamfara State.
“We also have another 300 special forces elements in Benue State under Operation Whirl Stroke that is run by Defence Headquarters.
“We also have units in Taraba State, where we have the quick response wing as well as in Agatu, Benue State, where we also have the quick response wing.
“The idea of having these wings is to make sure that they ensure security working in tandem with other security agencies. We also have every reason to be excited, looking at the number of acquired platforms and what we are hoping to get into Nigeria.
“We are expecting the Augusta 109 power helicopter very soon from Italy, and the President and Commander-n-Chief will be invited to the launching ceremony that will signify the renewed efforts of the government to ensure that there is security in the North-West geopolitical zone, particularly Zamfara, Sokoto and parts of Kaduna states, where we have a new detachment that has now been approved by the Air council, that is Nigerian Air Force detachment building planning.
“We have already provided landing facilities there for helicopters and we have also provided fuelling facilities for the aircraft.”
Abubakar explained that the service was reactivating its assets with a view to projecting better air power in the country.