Battle For Baga: How Air Force, Others Chased Boko Haram Out
Boko Haram and troops of 7 Brigade few days ago battled for hours in Baga a community in Borno State, until they were overpowered by the troops.
More information is emerging after that battle and it is about how Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole and Allied Air Forces provided air support to repel the attack by Boko Haram in Baga.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) gave a detailed account of how the members of a faction of Boko Haram that has affiliation with ISIS, the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), were repelled from the fishing town on the evening of December 26.
In a statement, the spokesman for the NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, gave the account, detailing the dozens of aerial strikes against the positions of the terrorists.
It read: “It may be recalled that the Headquarters 7 Brigade Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Baga came under attack by members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the evening of December 26.
“Upon receipt of the information of the attack, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE immediately dispatched a NAF Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), platform along with two Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships to provide support for the troops to repel the attack.
“The NAF ISR aircraft, which was overhead the troops’ location as at 7.15pm, also worked closely with a NAF and another allied ISR aircraft that are also in the operation area at the time of the attack.
“The ISR platforms were in contact with the ground troops and assisted in directing their fire against the terrorists, while the helicopter gunships engaged the terrorists at isolated locations destroying some of their vehicles and neutralising some fighters".
Air Commodore Daramola further explained that the ATF also provided support for Nigerian Army (NA), and Nigerian Navy (NN), troops at the Naval Base at Doron Baga, “which equally came under attack by ISWAP fighters on the morning of Dec.27 “.
According to him, the ATF deployed two ISR platforms, two Helicopter Gunships and two Alpha Jet aircraft to provide ISR and close air support to the troops.
Also Read: Naval Officer Killed In Battle For Baga
“After establishing communication with the ground troops, the location of the terrorists was ascertained and engaged by the Alpha Jet aircraft.
“The NAF and allied ISR platforms also spotted two ISWAP vehicles heading southwards from Baga and vectored the Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the vehicles, completely destroying one of them and neutralising the occupants.
“In order to enhance the quality of coordination between the air and ground operations, the Theatre Commander and Maritime Component Commander were carried onboard the ISR platform during one of the flights,” he said.
The spokesman said in all, the ATF conducted 20 missions in 21 sorties with a total of about 39 hours flown on December 26 and 27 in support of operations in Baga general area.?
“The NAF appreciates the existing synergy with our gallant surface forces as well as our Regional Allies in adding value to our collective efforts to protect our territory and people,” he added.
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