Fulani herdsmen open fire on Nigerian Air Force jet and helicopter in Adamawa State

HEAVILY-armed Fulani cattle herdsman have shot at a Nigerian Air Force (Naf) attack helicopter and a fighter jet in Adamawa State  in the latest clash between the pastoralists and the security forces.


Over the last year, the government has stepped up activities against the herdsmen, who have terrorised local farming communities, carrying out gruesome attacks, leading to thousands of deaths. As part of the fight against the armed Fulani, Naf has stepped up reconnaissance, using helicopters to monitor their movements.


Over the weekend, gun-wielding herdsmen fired at the Alpha Jet and the EC 135 Helicopter deployed by the military in the troubled communities of Numan and Demsa Local Government Areas of Adamawa State. Apparently, the herdsmen, who were dressed in black, attempted to bring down the fighter aircraft which were flown to fire warning shots at them.


Two weeks ago Naf, deployed some fighter aircraft to support the ground forces in Adamawa State following a request from the Nigerian Army. Naf spokesman Air Vice-Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, who confirmed the deployment, said it would be a continuous exercise.


Police in Adamawa State confirmed recent attacks by the rampaging Fulani militia on Dong and Lawura villages in the Demsa Local Government Area, saying that many buildings were razed, scores were killed and many residents fled the communities. Also, the police said six of its officers were killed in the attack between herdsmen and farmers.


Air Vice Marshal Adesanya added:  “A lot of damage had been done in Numan already by the gunmen before the fighter aircraft moved in. We actually caught the gunmen doing more damage and they needed to be stopped, so we fired warning shots ahead of them.


"They were with a vast number of cows and they moved the cows under a shed as they set more buildings in the area on fire. At some point, the gunmen actually started firing at our aircraft."


He pointed out that the aircraft did not actually carry bombs and was just on an internal security operation. According to Air Vice Marshal Adesanya, the fundamental principle of the operation was the use of minimum force.