Nigerian Air Force deploys Alpha jets to Jos to combat Fulani cattle herdsmen menace

MILITARY commanders have deployed Nigerian Air Force (Naf) jets and personnel to the Plateau State capital Jos to support the ongoing Operation Safe Heaven aimed at combating the menace of Fulani cattle herdsmen.


Over recent years, suspected cattle herdsmen have been engaged in incessant attacks on local farming communities that have left hundreds dead. Over the last week, heavily armed herdsmen attacked n Nkiedonwhro village in Bassa Local Government Area, leaving at least 27 people dead.  President Muhammadu Buhari has since instructed the military and the police to not only bring the violence to an instant end but to draw up a plan to ensure that there are no further attacks and reprisals by one group against the other.


Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Nigeria's chief of air staff, has since moved into action and yesterday, he inspected the newly weaponised Naf Alpha jets deployed to Jos. He added that the deployments are for the maintenance of peace and curtailing the senseless killings as well as a possible spread of violence in other parts of the state.


Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, the director of Naf's public relations, said: “The deployment was ordered by the chief of the air staff. It is in compliance with the directive of the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that an end is put to the current spate of violence and killings in the state.


“The deployment is also to ensure the prevention of reprisal attacks, which could escalate the conflict. “The deployed Naf assets include the L-39ZA aircraft and the EC-135 helicopter, which are to provide necessary air cover to the surface forces participating in the Operation in the State.”


He added that the Naf has always acted in aid of civil authority, whenever called upon to do so, in line with its statutory role. According to Air Commodore Adesanya, apart from its presence in the northeast to fight Boko Haram insurgents, the Naf has also deployed its air assets and personnel in recent times to Kafachan in southern Kaduna and Takum in Taraba State to stop incessant communal clashes.