Niger bandit attacks, disaster for Nigeria ― Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the incessant bandit attacks, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Niger state as a disaster for the nation and has now authorised the use of air power to curtail the menace.

A statement issued in Abuja, on Sunday, informed that the president has received assurances that with the harmattan dust gradually easing its hold on the skies, fighter aircraft would, this week, join the efforts to provide effective air attacks against bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers that have been attacking remote communities around Dogon Gona forest in Niger State.

The statement said President Buhari described the repeated attacks leading to the losses of several lives in the communities “as a disaster for the nation,” and consequently authorised the deployment of air power to support troops and policemen deployed to the “difficult terrain,” to counter the menace of the attackers operating in the forest area bordering Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states.

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According to the statement, in line with the directive, the Nigerian Air Force is setting up refuelling facilities at Minna, Niger State to support the aircraft operations, giving assurances that given the improved weather conditions, a major exercise to “visually acquire targets” and launch attacks will soon follow.

It said the Police Command in Niger has equally given assurances that the planned dedicated air raids to complement the police helicopter gunship operations remain the best approach given the lack of motorized roads in the areas constantly under attack.

President Buhari commiserated with the government and people of Niger State following the attacks and the loss of lives that followed and assured that victim communities in the state will not be abandoned by the rest of the country.

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