The Nigerian Air Force has concluded plans to deploy some fighter aircraft to the troubled areas in Zamfara and Sokoto states to stop violence and killings in parts of the states.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated this during his visits to Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina states to evaluate the situation, according to a statement on Thursday.
This is just as the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, told the air chief that the state observed a “recent influx of some foreign fighters from Mali comprising Arab, Tuareg, Hausa and Fulani in Balle Village in the Gudu Local Government Area of the state.”
Tambuwal noted that security agencies in the state had been able to deal with the invaders.
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In Zamfara, there had been violence since Saturday in the Zurmi LGA with irate youths from Asola village in the Tsafe LGA on Monday protesting against the insecurity and calling on the authorities to put the situation under control.
The air chief said the deployment of the aircraft would be extended to the 119 Forward Operation Base in Sokoto State to boost air operations in the zone.
Abubakar said, “The air force in consonance with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies will continue to work round the clock to ensure security of lives and properties of the local population.
“We have come to critically appraise the security situation in order to determine what could be done to enhance NAF operations. The NAF will deploy platforms and equipment to enable the 119 FOB to conduct air operations from the Sultan Abubakar III Airport in support of the anti-banditry operations in the area.
“The air force has already commenced arrangements to provide fuel facilities similar to those already provided in Katsina and Zamfara. We are better positioned to more effectively and efficiently employ air power. The Federal Government has facilitated the acquisition of 18 new aircraft, with another 18 being expected.”
According to the statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the air chief met with the governors of Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states to interact on the security operations.
In his response, the Sokoto State Governor, Tambuwal, said the state was “gradually coming under intense pressure as a result of the activities of bandits along the Sokoto-Zamfara boundary.”
“There has been a recent influx of some foreign fighters from Mali comprising Arabs, Tuaregs, Hausas and Fulanis in Balle village in the Gudu LGA. We were able to deal with them in close coordination with heads of security agencies in the state along with the Governor of Tahou Region, Niger Republic,” Tambuwal noted.