Plateau Crisis

As Scores of Kidnap Victims Escape bandits dens

By Kingsley Omonobi

Following the new and decisive onslaughts on armed bandits terrorizing and kidnapping citizens in the North West particularly Niger State and the Kaduna-Abuja highway, the Air Component of Operation Gama Aiki (OPGA) has eliminated scores of armed bandits in Niger State.

This is just as many civilians abducted by the bandits and held hostage in makeshift structures escaped during the air strikes.

Military Sources confirmed that Nigerian Air Force attack aircraft launched air strikes on the criminal/bandits hideouts and camps at Kusarsu, a community along Abuja-Kaduna highway killing scores.

Credible intelligence had revealed the presence of suspected bandits’ hideout and logistics base at Kusarsu, while the movement of some bandits from Kusarsu towards Kaduna-Abuja Road was also observed, earlier within the week. A large number of armed bandits also relocated to settlements in Gaude and Dutse Magaji.

Towards this end, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft under Gama Aiki were scrambled in the early hours of 26 November 2021 to take out the targets.

“Overhead Kusarsu, the NAF combat crew sighted several armed bandits gathered at the locations and subsequently launched a coordinated strike after which the location was seen engulfed in flames.

“The aftermath of the strike also revealed remnants of surviving bandits fleeing the location. It was also observed that several persons suspected to be kidnapped victims were observed escaping out of a makeshift structure and fleeing to nearby civilian settlements.

“Similar strikes by NAF platforms at bandits’ locations in Gaude and Dutse Magaji had the same effects as remnants of the bandits were observed to be scampering from the location.

“Feedback from locals as well as own deployment around Kusarsu revealed that over 60 corpses of bandits were been counted during assessments of the destroyed logistics bases of the terrorists

Other sources said persons believed to be kidnap victims were seen escaping from makeshift structures as they took advantage of the airstrikes on the bandits’ location to escape.

The bandits operating along Kusarsu axis orchestrated the attack on a train along the Kaduna-Abuja rail track on 20 October 2021.

There are also indications that several bandits may have been neutralized at Gaude and Dutsin Magaji after the airstrike carried out with mop up support by ground troops of the Nigerian Army as well as other security agencies.

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