The kingpin of a terror gang, Dogo Rabe, and 45 other terrorists were killed in an Air Force raid Thursday evening.
Mr bombing that killed Mr Rabe was part of an operation to flush out terrorists operating in communities between the Zurmi and Birnin Magaji areas in Zamfara State, and Jibia in Katsina State, according to security sources.
The news of the killing of Mr Rabe comes four days after a similar raid targeting notorious terrorist, Bello Turji, in Fakai community in Zamfara. At least 22 people were killed in the bombing but Mr Turji managed to escape.
A local journalist, Abdulbaqi Aliyu, claimed at least 40 terrorists were killed in the Birnin Magaji area of Zamfara.
“Yesterday’s attack by the Nigerian Airforce, airstrikes at Sabon Birini Dan Ali forest, in Birini Magaji LGA of Zamfara State killed 40 terrorists. The gangs were said to be loading stolen cattle. Sources from the area confirmed the development,” he said.
In Zurmi, Abdullahi Mamman, a resident of the area, said terrorists were attacked in Lambar Gabas community where another notorious kingpin, Gwaska Dankarami resides.
“Nobody can tell you the exact number of those killed because I learnt that the bandits were gathering in Dan Karami’s house for a meeting or something of that nature. Some locals said Dankarami was not in the house but I can’t confirm. What I know is that the place was bombed by jets,”
A local source in Jibia, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said Mr Rabe was killed in the raid.
He was said to be on his way to raid some villages in Zamfara (possibly Zurmi).
“I was told that the other bandits with him were five but I know they were more than that because if you know the style of their operations, you know they can’t go in such small number but I can confirm to you that he was hit in the raid.”
Abdul Olaitan, the Air Force spokesperson in Katsina didn’t respond to calls and SMS sent to him on the offensives.
But an Air Force source in the Katsina 213 Forward Operation Base confirmed that Air Force jets attacked terrorists’ camps in Zurmi and Jibia.
“Well, I know that our men have been on this since last Friday. We have been intensifying efforts to flush them from their hideouts. We’re getting more jets and aircraft to monitor their (terrorists) movements,” he said.
According to the source, a senior officer, who sought anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press, he said the offensive is being led by the Air Component Commander of the Base, MB Umar, a Group Captain.
“These offensives will continue until their (terrorists) camps are all wiped out. it’s not easy especially because the camps are mostly in local communities where there are innocent residents but we’re being careful and we’re witnessing success.”
MEDIA SMARTS reliably gathered that the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Special Operations Command, Bauchi, Abubakar Abdulkadir, is in Katsina to access the air raids.
Mr Abdulkadir, an Air Vice Marshall, was in Katsina when Mr Turji was attacked and this medium gathered that the official is extending his stay to coordinate the offensive.