The airstrike killed at least 12 fighters, including relatives of the infamous terror boss Bello Turji.
The Nigerian Air Force conducted a raid on Saturday afternoon on Mr. Turji’s hideout in the Fakai community of the Shinkafi area in Zamfara State, killing all those inside.
Reporters were told by locals that the terrorists were attending a naming ceremony for a baby at Mr. Turji’s house when the airstrikes began.
The raid was also confirmed by an unnamed Air Force source at the Forward Operation Base in neighbouring Katsina.
The senior officer reported that as of Sunday morning, the whereabouts of the reputed kingpin were still unknown.
Terrorists were hiding out in a mosque that had not yet been finished, according to a former Fakai council member who requested anonymity for safety reasons.
At roughly 1:58 p.m., I left the community to attend to some business in Shinkafi on my own time, but I hadn’t gotten very far before I began receiving calls that the village was under attack. My loved ones initially thought it was bandits attacking, but later got a call from the air force saying they were wrong. Politician: “I could hear the screaming of the planes” in phone chat with PREMIUM TIMES.
He claimed the dead were male and female militia members hiding out in the mosque.
The politician denied Mr. Turji’s presence in town, saying he was elsewhere at the time of the incident.
It’s common knowledge that Mr. Turji is in town if his fighters armed with cutting-edge weaponry are stationed outside his home. “The naming ceremony took place this morning, whereas the regular women’s event didn’t begin until later,” he explained.
Another local, who also requested anonymity, reported that he had moved his family to the Shinkafi administrative centre.
In a nutshell: it was extremely lethal. While my group and I sheltered on the outskirts of town from the bandits, I spotted them fleeing. Everyone was thrown for a loop, but thankfully the planes didn’t hang around for too long or it might have been too much for some of us innocent locals to handle.
However, he insisted that “just his (Mr. Turji’s) personnel were slain” and that there had been no civilian casualties as of Saturday night.
According to the information gathered thus far, the raid resulted in the deaths of at least 12 of Mr. Turji’s fighters, including several women.
No one was able to reach Abdul Olaitan, the Air Force Forward Operation Base in Katsina’s spokesman, despite multiple phone calls and text messages, but a high-ranking officer confirmed the offensive.
And not just Mr. Turji’s camp in general. The Air Force spokesman stated that attacks had begun on Wednesday of last week.
According to the official, “since Friday the air force has been watching the community. As soon as we received solid intelligence, we pounced, but he evaded capture in the structures we stormed.
He stated that Mi 17s and Alpha jets from the air components of Operation Hadarin Daji were used in the raid, with another aircraft providing observation throughout the entire offensive.
The officer merely stated, “the jets have photographs of the sites during attack and we know those affected,” when asked how they knew Mr. Turji was not among those murdered.
Mr. Turji has gained notoriety for leading his terror gang in operations against communities, during which his group has killed several and abducted others.
Zamfara state officials said in August that Mr. Turji had agreed to the terms of their peace proposal and would no longer carry out attacks.