Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga, two wanted bandit leaders, were reportedly killed in military raids on Zamfara Forest and village on New Year’s Day.

According to information obtained by the Sunday Tribune on Saturday, notorious bandit commanders were killed on Friday night during air bombardment of their enclaves inside Gusami Forest and Tsamre village in the state’s Birnin Magaji Local Government Area.

Multiple airstrikes by the NAF jet carried out in the early hours of Saturday also eliminated Auta and Ruga’s cohorts, according to a report credited to PRNigeria on Saturday.

According to additional sources in the Zamfara government, Auta was well-known in the Birnin Magaji area of the state, where he and his men had wreaked havoc on the locals. “Alhaji Auta, has been killed in an airstrike by the Nigerian Air Force,” they said (NAF).

“During the operation around his camp located at Jama’are Bayan Dutchi, in NasarawaMailayi District of Zamfara on Saturday, many of his gang members were also eliminated,” a source close to the government house said.

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The locals were said to be ecstatic when they heard the news of his death.

Several sources confirmed Auta’s death, as well as the deaths of dozens of other bandits, during the airstrike, but the military authorities have yet to respond.

Hundreds of bandits who had gathered at late Auta’s home for his burial were also struck by missiles fired by the military jet, with an unconfirmed number of terrorists killed in the process, according to sources.

According to a military intelligence officer, follow-up airstrikes by NAF fighter aircraft on fleeing bandits and those who took cover under trees in the area resulted in heavy casualties on the criminals’ side.

“For the time being, the whereabouts of other notorious bandits such as Alhaji Nashama, Shingi, and Halilu, who may be incapacitated or on the run,” the officer added.

According to a military source, aggressive bombardments by NAF aircraft have been precise and effective in recent times in hitting bandits’ enclaves, eliminating their leaders and followers in the process.

“These operations have reassured citizens of the military’s and other security agencies’ commitment and dedication to bringing banditry’s threats under control in the not-too-distant future.”

“Citizens, particularly those in and around affected communities, are urged to provide security agencies with credible information that will help them combat threats to their lives and livelihood,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gen Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), has praised military forces for their efforts in keeping the country safe and secure in 2021.

In the spirit of the New Year’s celebration, the CDS bestowed the honor. Gen. Irabor praised the AFN’s men and women for their tenacity, perseverance, courage, and gallantry in keeping the country safe and secure.

Gen. Irabor stated that AFN troops have shown exceptional resiliency and bravery in the face of adversity while overcoming a variety of security threats.

“In retrospect, the end of 2021 affords the AFN a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remember the sacrifices of its men and women who work in extreme conditions in trenches, fields, and far-flung places away from the comfort of their loved ones to keep Nigerians safe and secure,” he says.

The AFN has continued to carry out its constitutional mandate of maintaining our nation’s territorial integrity, suppressing insurgency, and assisting civil authorities in restoring order when called upon, according to the Defence Chief.

This, he said, is in light of current and evolving national security challenges that are violent, irregular, complex, and manifest.

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