Nigerian Military Insists NAF Air Strikes Conducted In Mutunji Village Were Precise, On Target

The Nigerian military on Thursday has insisted that the air strikes carried out by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on terrorists in Mutunji village in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, was professionally conducted and landed precisely on the intended targets. 

Governor Bello Mattawalle had alleged that scores of residents and soldiers were killed during the bombardment recently conducted on hideouts of bandits in Zamfara state.

Debunking the claims, Director, Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, , insisted that there was no such casualties on the part of civilians.

He said the operation was largely successful, and that a large number of terrorists were neutralized.

“The Nigerian military is always professional in its operations,” Major General Musa Danmadami, Director, Defence Media Operations stated, adding that investigations would however be carried out to ascertain if there was any “collateral damage”.

In another separate operation, the military Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI in the North West Zone of the Country have sustained operational activities through the conduct of fighting patrols, raid and clearance operations to clear bandits and terrorists enclaves within various towns and Local Government Areas of Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kaduna States respectively. 

Speaking to Journalists at Defence Headquarters, during the biweekly briefing on troops activities and operational successes being recorded in the various operational theaters within the 6 geo-political zones of the Country, the Director media Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Danmadami said on 3 December 2022, troops conducted fighting patrols to an identified bandits hideout at Ungawan Babale and Rafin Sarki in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State and made contact with the terrorists. Following the fire fight, troops neutralized 5 terrorists while others fled. 

Equally, on 7 December 2022, troops on fighting patrol at Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State arrested a suspected gun runner who has been on the wanted list of troops at a filling station while refueling his car. Items recovered from him include 5 AK47 rifles, 4,000 rounds of 7.6mm special ammo concealed in a sack, 4 magazines, teargas cannister as well as knives.

Also, on 4 December 2022, troops responded to distress call on terrorist attack at Maigamji village in Funtua Local Government Area of Katsina State and made contact with the terrorist, during the operation, 3 bandits were neutralized while others fled with gun shot wounds. 

Troops exploited the area and recovered a bag containing 7 AK 47 magazines loaded with 204 rounds of 7.62mm special, 2 motorcycles and a mobile phone. Same day, troops made contact with bandits at Mahuta village in the same Funtua Local Government Area. Following the fire fight, troops neutralized 3 terrorists and recovered 2 dane guns, 4 mobile phones and daggers among other items. 

Furthermore, on 8 December 2022, following a tip off, troops intercepted a truck conveying uncoupled motorcycles with 5 suspects along Gusau-Dansadau road in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State. It was revealed that the items were intended for delivery to a suspected terrorists collaborator who has been on the watch list of troops. Items recovered from the suspects include 1 baretta pistol, 1 magazine, 11 rounds of 7.56mm ammunition, 7 uncoupled motorcycles and the sum of Fifty Five Thousand One Hundred and Fifty Naira (N55,150.00) only.

Consequently, within three weeks in review, troops recovered 7 AK47 rifles, 1 baretta pistol, 1 locally made rifle, 3 locally made pistol, 4 locally made guns, 3 dane guns, 4,308 rounds 7.62mm special, 7 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 11 rounds of 7.56mm ammunition and 5 cartridges. 

Also recovered are 55 motorcycles, 7 uncoupled motorcycles, 13 mobile phones and 820 rustled cattle as well as the sum of Two Million Three and Two Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety Five Naira (N2,302,195.00) only. 

Troops equally neutralized 27 terrorists, arrested 36 suspected terrorist and rescued 35 abducted civilians. All recovered items, rescued civilians and arrested suspects were handed over to the relevant authority for further action.

 In a relatedly development, the air component of Operation WHIRL PUNCH, on 1 December 2022, conducted an air interdiction operation at identified terrorists hideouts in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Consequently, the air strike operation was conducted following credible intelligence about the activities of terrorists in the general area.

 After the successful bombardment, it was confirmed from feedback that 7 terrorists kingpins, namely; Jibrin Gurgu, Isah Jauro and Tambuwal from Zamfara State were eliminated from the strikes, others are Noti, Bala, Yunusa and Burti who were on the watch lists of security agents were all neutralized with their foot soldiers. Equally, a follow up air interdiction operation was carried out against terrorist in their enclaves in Tofa and Kiyawa in Igabi and Birni Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Feedback received, revealed that, the terrorists suffered heavy casualties from the bombardment.

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