- Combat helicopter shot, 2 pilots injured
- Foreign govts aiding insurgents- Reps C’ttee
By Ese Awhotu and Christiana Ekpa
Special Operatives of Operation Puff Adder of the Nigeria Police, backed by the Special Forces of the Police Airwing, in a daring offensive operation, stormed one of the largest operational camps of the Ansaru Terror Group in Kaduna killing over 250 high-profile members of the terror group.
This is just as the Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Hon. Jimi Benson has accused foreign governments of aiding insurgents in the country.
The Ansaru Terror Group which also houses other bandits and kidnappers is located in Kuduru Forest, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State.
A statement by DCP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja yesterday, said that the operation which commenced in the early hours of Wednesday, was carried out by a combined team of operatives of Operation Puff Adder made up of the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Forces, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The statement added that the operation was necessitated by actionable intelligence linking terror and criminal elements in the super camp to series of terror-related violence, kidnappings, gun-running, cattle rustling and other heinous crimes across the country.
The police spokesman reconfirmed to Peoples Daily when contacted that 250 of the terrorists were indeed killed in the operation
“Unfortunately, during the operation, a Police Bell helicopter, which provided aerial and intelligence cover for the ground troops came under attack from the bandits using sophisticated anti-aircraft rifles and GPMG. Commendably, the pilot and the co-pilot who demonstrated uncommon courage and expertise, successfully landed the aircraft at the Air Force Base, Kaduna without further incident. They were thereafter evacuated for medical treatment.
“Both officers who sustained non-life threatening injuries are currently receiving treatment and are in stable condition.
“The Police helicopter has since been flown out of the Kaduna Air Force Base by Police Pilots en-route to Abuja,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police has assured citizens of safety and sustained intelligence-led operations against bandits across the length and breadth of the nation.
He has equally applauded the unparalleled bravery, commitment and dedication of the Police operatives currently conducting the special mission.
In the House of Representatives, Hon Benson confirmed that the lawmakers and the Service Chiefs at the closed door meeting discussed issues bothering on sponsorship of insurgents by foreign governments who are allegedly arming insurgents.
The National Assembly and the Armed Forces he said equally reiterated commitment toward tackling the activities of insurgents being aided by foreign governments.
Hon. Benson gave the assurance while speaking with Parliamentary Correspondents after the closed door meeting held with the Service Chiefs on the spate of insecurity ravaging the country.
Giving update on the issues discussed by the parties, he said: “We got firsthand information on what’s going on, what the issues are, we deliberated extensively we are going to report back to the Parliament on what we heard from the Service Chiefs.
According to him, “Like I said that was part of what we discussed, there could be some truth in that,” Hon. Benson said.
“We are to an extent satisfied by what they said, like I said earlier, we are going to table all they said before Parliament we are going to discuss.
“We are going to have very robust discussion on how to assist to end this war because it is Nigeria that is at war; how to end this within the shortest possible time.”
He however declined from giving details on some of the issues discussed during the two hours meeting, saying: “Military issues are not things we should be discussing in the public bit the way a lot of issues that we must all sit down as Nigeriansto discuss.
“One of it like I mentioned is equally an international dimension to what we see ISIS and ISWAP so those are the things we need to discuss in a very classified manner.
“But what we want Nigerians to know is that we are commited to them 100 percent to see that we assist the military, the Armed Forces in ensuring that this matter comes to an end within the shortest possible time.”
When asked whether the House has rescinded its resolution on the resignation of the Service Chiefs passed by the House, Hon. Benson said: “It’s not a U-turn but the most important thing that Nigerians want is, one – security of their lives and their properties to be protected. That is the meeting we are having today.
“Sacking Service Chiefs, we can suggest but it is the function of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces the bulk stops at his table,” he affirmed.
Meanwhile, the House after reconvening from one-hour break, adjourned plenary to the next legislative day – Thursday.