The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has destroyed some illegal refining sites in Rivers State and also killed several “terrorists” in airstrikes in the North-East region of the country.
This is according to the NAF spokesman Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet who said the development is part of the agency’s moves to “continue denying non-state actors the freedom to perpetrate their nefarious acts at will”.
“In continuation of efforts aimed at containing the activities of terrorists, militants and other criminal elements bent on destabilizing the Nation and making life unbearable to peace-loving Nigerians, the air component of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) carried out air interdiction missions on some illegal refining sites located at Cawthorne Channels, Bille and Gogokori in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State on 27 August 2023,” the NAF spokesman said in a Sunday statement.
“Having observed the sites to consist of illegal refining sites, the areas were attacked and destroyed. Specifically, at Gogokori, a Cotonou boat observed to be loaded with illegal refined products and heading into open waters was also engaged and destroyed.
“Similar strikes were also extended to Idama in Akuku?Toru Local Government Area and Omoma in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State upon receipt of intelligence of refining activities at the two locations. Overhead both locations, active illegal refining sites with reservoirs suspected to contain illegally refined products were sighted. The reservoirs were subsequently engaged, destroyed, and engulfed in flames.”
Furthermore, he explained that “On 25 August 2023, identified militants/pirates’ camps in Cross River State were also attacked by the air component of OPDS. In the various militant/pirates’ camps identified as Big Joe’s Camp, Sunny’s Camp, Davids’ Camp in Bakassi Local Government Area, and Amos Camps in Calabar South Local Government Area, air strikes were authourized after confirming these locations to be littered with these criminals and their activities.
“Those who attempted to escape through their various escape routes were also attacked. In one of the suspected kidnappers’ camps, a lone structure suspected to be harbouring some kidnapped victims with armed men roaming around the structure was also attacked using guns on board the aircraft. The strikes led to pandemonium with several kidnapped victims seen escaping.”
He noted that in the North-East, strikes were conducted on Friday at Chinene, a persistent terrorists’ hideout in the Mandara mountains.
“Having observed the area continually host gatherings of terrorists and their activities, the location was struck with several terrorists neutralized while others fled for their lives,” NAF added.
While reiterating its commitment to fighting insecurity in the country, NAF said it will work with other security agencies to do so.
But it is calling on all “Nigerians to see themselves as part of the solution to these challenges through the provision of actional information to security agencies”.