The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), through its Air Task Force (ATF), has commenced OPERATION THUNDER STRIKE 2 against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) in the Northeast.
The Operation, which commenced on Monday, 3 September 2018, is an independent Air Interdiction Operation targeting selected BHT locations within the fringes of Lake Chad and Sambisa Forest in Borno State, with a view to further degrading the remnants of the insurgents, curtailing their freedom of action and denying them bases from which they could launch attacks against our ground troops’ locations.
On Day Two of the Operation, 4 September 2018, air strikes by NAF aircraft resulted in the destruction of BHT hideouts and neutralization of scores of insurgents at 3 locations namely; Tumbun Rego, Sabon Tumbun and Tumbun Allura, all on the fringes of the Lake Chad. Tumbun Rego, which is located about 140Km Northeast of Maiduguri, has been identified as a major logistics/communications base and staging area for the insurgents.
Accordingly, the ATF detailed F-7Ni and Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the identified BHT logistics/communications hubs. The identified hubs were subsequently destroyed by the strikes. Similarly, a number of solar panels were spotted and destroyed during the attack.
The attack on Sabon Tumbun was undertaken based on Human Intelligence reports, which were later confirmed following several days of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, indicating that the settlement was a BHT tactical operations base.
The settlement also had some equipment and vehicles cleverly concealed under thick foliage.
Accordingly, the settlement was attacked in successive waves of strikes by Alpha Jet, F-7Ni and Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships, leading to the destruction of BHT facilities, equipment and structures in the settlement as well as the neutralization of several insurgents.
Tumbun Allura, another major BHT operations base on the fringes of the Lake Chad, was attacked by Alpha Jet and F-7Ni aircraft.
Overhead the area of interest, several of the BHTs were observed and the objective attacked leading to the complete destruction of one of the specific target buildings under a tree.
Many of the fleeing insurgents were also mopped up by subsequent follow-on attacks.
Meanwhile, at the time of filing this report, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar, was still in Maiduguri, where he had gone to motivate the frontline personnel while also obtaining firsthand information on the progress of the Operation.