The Nigerian Air Force has deployed its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft to conduct aerial patrols over crisis-prone communities in Kaduna State, as part of efforts to end killings in the state.
One of our correspondents learnt that NAF aircraft had begun aerial surveillance over areas, including Gonin Gora, Kajuru, Kujama and Kasuwar Maganin.
It was gathered that the deployment of the troops of the Nigerian Army in the areas, after it created an anti-banditry and anti-kidnapping military unit code-named Operation Sharan Daji.
NAF said on Wednesday that its aircraft were combing “identified hotspots and flashpoints along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.”
It also warned criminals to desist from violence.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the air patrols were also focused on areas along the Kaduna/Abuja Road, which had been susceptible to the activities of armed robbers and kidnappers.
Daramola said, “In continuation of efforts to enhance security in Kaduna State and its environs, NAF, working with other security agencies, has intensified aerial surveillance over identified hotspots and flashpoints in the state.
“NAF had in February conducted such show of force in Katari village, which was one of the identified criminal hotspots along the Abuja/Kaduna Highway.
“The exercise, which combined aerial and ground operations, by the NAF Special Forces and Regiment personnel sent a stern warning to criminal elements, that NAF and other security agencies were ready to engage them both from the air and on the ground to frustrate their nefarious activities.
“NAF will sustain its aerial surveillance, coupled with armed vehicular patrols, along the highway, rail line and other areas in the state to ensure the security of citizens as well as safe travels for law-abiding commuters.”
Meanwhile, NAF also said on Wednesday that it had deployed ISR platforms and Alpha Jets in the Lake Chad Basin area of the North-East to root out the Boko Haram terrorists and their sister faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province.
NAF noted that at least 33 terror fighters were killed by the military in Arege and Tumbun Rego areas on Tuesday during several air strikes.
The strikes were carried out by the troops of the Operation Yancin Tafki in conjunction with troops of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government on Wednesday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the troubled Kajuru Local Government Area of the state following ethno-religious crisis that had led to the death of many residents of the LGA.
The government also imposed a curfew on parts of Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
The communities in Chikun LGA affected by the curfew, according to a statement by Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Samuel Aruwan, are Kujama and Maraba Rido.
The curfew, the statement added, was necessitated by insecurity occasioned by fresh killings in Kajuru LGA.
The statement added that the curfew imposed on the two LGAs, would be in effect from 6pm to 6am daily until further notice.
It read, “Security assessments have necessitated the imposition of a dusk-to- dawn curfew on all parts of Kajuru Local Government Area, effective from today, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The dusk-to-dawn curfew is also extended to Kujama and Maraban Rido communities in Chikun Local Government Area.
“Security agencies have been directed to ensure strict enforcement of the curfew. The Kaduna State Government appeals to all residents and communities in the affected areas to bear the inconvenience of the curfew and cooperate with the security agencies.”
Recall that gunmen invaded the Ungwan Barde in Kajuru LGA where one person was reportedly killed while one was declared missing shortly after the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections in the state on Sunday.
Also, on Monday, gunmen reportedly attacked Iri, Dogon Noma and Ikirimi villages in the same Kajuru LGA.
The attack came on the heels of another invasion of Ungwan Barde in the same area where 17 persons were killed.
The incident forced the Adara Development Association to raise the alarm that terrorists were on the prowl in the area.
The association claimed that terrorists invaded their communities in broad daylight, killing and burning their houses.
A statement issued by the association’s Assistant National Secretary, Luka Waziri, put the death toll of the recent killings in the communities at 118.
The group also demanded the immediate release of their leaders arrested and languishing in prison in the state.
The statement read, “Kajuru land, and by extension the Adara nation, has been gripped by a fully-funded and supported group of terrorists that have been wreaking havoc in our land for long, while those saddled with the responsibility of securing us deliberately looked the other way.
“First, Ungwan Barde was attacked on February 10, 2019, and nobody said anything even though those in government knew. Furthermore, the government pretended that the 11 people killed did not matter.
“Then Karamai, one of our communities, was attacked on February 26 while 38 people were killed.
“While the victims were buried in a mass grave and the injured yet to recover, Ungwan Barde village was attacked again on Sunday, March 10. Seventeen people were killed and dozens of houses burnt.”
The statement titled, ‘The ongoing massacre in Kajuru and government’s double standard,’ added, “This is despite the fact that all the attacks took place either in the morning or in the evening – in full glare of everyone.
“The terrorists come in their hundreds, take time to kill and then leave without anyone being caught or apprehended by the security agents.
“However in a strange twist of the application of justice, nine Adara elders and village chiefs were indiscriminately arrested and thrown into Kaduna prison on allegations of complicity.
“Their continued incarceration is a travesty of justice that has no place in our democratic setting.”