Kaduna reign of terror: NAF rains bombs as bandits kill 7 soldiers

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A combined team of soldiers, operatives of the Department of State Services and the police have been deployed in Kaduna to locate and possibly rescue passengers abducted by terrorists, who attacked the Kaduna-Abuja train on Monday.

It was learnt that the Federal Government had given the Nigerian Air Force express approval to deploy the Super Tucano aircraft in the North-West albeit with conditions that collateral damage be minimised.

It was gathered that the special team was given express orders to locate the abductors’ camp and do “everything operationally possible” to rescue the hostages with minimal losses.

About eight persons were killed during Monday’s attack, while an unknown number of victims were abducted by the attackers, who caused the train to derail after blowing off the rail tracks.

Over 390 persons were onboard the train, which was Kaduna bound.

It gathered that the Super Tucano aircraft, which was being used against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province fighters in the North-East, would soon be deployed against the terrorists in Kaduna and surrounding states.

A security source said the military had decided to use the Tucano fighter jets against the terrorists hibernating in Kaduna forests.

“The decision to redeploy the Super Tucano jets to Kaduna has been taken, but the decision may not be implemented immediately because of the individuals abducted from the Kaduna-Abuja train on Monday evening. Using the aircraft against the terrorists in Kaduna might endanger the kidnapped victims and the military will always want to minimise the collateral damage as much as possible,” a source explained.

But the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria flayed the military over its failure to deploy the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets against terrorists turning the North-West zone into another killing field.

HURIWA also reminded the Federal Government that the daredevil terrorists were fast approaching the Federal Capital Territory and had struck many times very close to the nation’s capital.

It was also learnt that the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had deployed some riot policemen to protect engineers repairing the destroyed rail tracks.

The acting Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed this to one of our correspondents on Thursday, also said the police had commenced an investigation into Monday’s incident.

“We are working with all relevant ministries, departments and agencies, as well as security agencies to investigate and forestall any further attack. The IG has ordered the deployment of half a unit of PMF men, one Armoured Personnel Carrier, one lorry and so on, to provide adequate security for the engineers, who are carrying out repairs on the rail line,” Adejobi stated.

Reports dislosed that seven soldiers were ambushed and killed by terrorists on the dreaded Abuja-Kaduna Expressway.

It was learnt that the attack happened close to the Zuma barracks along the road in the Suleja area of Niger State in the early hours of Wednesday.

A military source said the commanding officer had received a distress call and sent his men to the scene.

The source said contrary to the speculation that the barracks was overrun and some soldiers killed, it was an ambush close to the facility.

The source said, “The commanding officer received a distress call on the activities of bandits around the Diko area, which is not far from the Zuma barracks. He deployed men but unfortunately, they were ambushed and seven soldiers died in that ambush. There was, however, no attack on the barracks as speculated. The incident happened between 4am and 5am on Wednesday.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the Director, Media Operations, Nigerian Army, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, were not successful. Calls to his line were not answered and he had yet to respond to a message sent to him on the matter as of the time of filing this report.

In a related development, the Air Component of the Operation Thunder Strike bombed some terrorist hideouts around 2pm on Wednesday. The number of terrorists killed in the operation could, however, not be ascertained.

A situation report read, “Upon receiving credible information that at about 2pm on March 30, 2022, about 70 terrorists on 40 motorcycles and some on foot were sighted moving towards the Akilibu-Sarkin Pawa Road, near Mangoro village, the air component of Operation Thunder Strike swiftly scrambled an aircraft to intercept and neutralise the terrorists.

“The terrorists were subsequently engaged in different waves with rockets, while those fleeing were mopped up with canons decisively.”

It is unclear if the terrorists were part of those who attacked and killed eight passengers on board the Kaduna-bound train on Monday.