Monday Reuben – Two key Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) members, Mallam Ali Kwaya and Mallam Bukar Mainoka, have been killed by the Nigerian Air Force in the Tumbuns, Lake Chad Region, of Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State.
Ali Kwaya and Mallam Bukar Mainoka were ISWAP Shura (Consultation) Council members.
They were killed when the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai conducted air interdiction missions at Belowa, one of the very few remaining ISWAP/Boko Haram enclaves in the Lake Chad Region, PR Nigeria said in a report.
Quoting a military intelligence operative, the website said the airstrikes at Belowa followed intelligence that some ISWAP leaders and fighters from surrounding areas converged for a meeting at the Tumbuns area, with the motive of planning attacks on Nigerian troops.
Consequently, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) dispatched its fighter jet to the location of the terrorists’ meeting at Belowa and engaged the ISWAP elements with rockets and bombs in multiple passes.
“An hour after the strikes, 2 vehicles conveying about 13 injured surviving terrorists to another hideout were struck through precision strikes by NAF aircraft.
“Feedback after the strikes revealed that ISWAP kingpin, Mallam Ali Kwaya, who is a key member of the ISWAP Shura Council and Mallam Bukar Mainoka, were among those neutralised in the strikes”, he said.
Similar strikes, the military intelligence operative said, were also conducted on Friday, at Ngwuri Gana in Bama LGA, a location East of Maiduguri.
He said: “The strikes became an expedient sequel to intelligence that a group of ISWAP insurgents in 15 trucks were spotted converging at the location.
“Feedback revealed the strike was on point, as several terrorists were neutralised and all their structures and vehicles engulfed in fire.”
When contacted, NAF Spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the strikes, but refused to be drawn into the names of those killed.
“Our path to victory in the Northeast and northwest remains on course and we won’t relent until all locations are free of terrorists and insurgents.
“Let’s also not forget that the resilience of our pilots and technicians is in line with the directive of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Amao, that terrorists and insurgents must be denied their hiding places”, he said.