The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, on Wednesday stated that it has commenced the conduct of Operation “Thunder Strike” to flush out Boko Haram terrorists in selected locations in the North-East.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this to newsmen during a working visit to Maiduguri, the Borno capital.
He explained that the visit was to enable him have a firsthand information on the operation of the Air Force in the area.
Abubakar said that the operation was designed to deny insurgents the freedom of action to attack soft targets in local communities, markets and places of gathering.
His words, “Our men have been doing an excellent job. They have been working round the clock to make sure that our communities are safe and secured.
“We feel that we have to come and appreciate them for all the effort, and to convey the appreciation of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for all they have been putting to ensure our communities are safe.
“We have also commenced operation `Thunder Strike’ and so far, we have seen excellent results. We want to make sure that these people that have evil intention do not have the opportunity to come and attack our communities and our troops.
“From what I have been briefed, it is very clear that so much have been put-in in terms of commitment, diligence and patriotism”.
On whether the operation will bring an end to Boko Haram activities, Abubakar said “the issue of defeating Boko Horam has been over flogged; what we are simply doing is to make sure that our communities are safe.
“I can assure you that Boko Haram have been substantially defeated; they cannot function as an organised fighting force; they can only attack soft targets, go to a market or somewhere people are gathered, to detonate their explosives.
“What we are simply doing is to make sure that they are denied even this soft targets; we are doing this with the support of the fighting troops of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’,” he said.
He pointed out that the major challenge faced was the weather conditions in the area, especially in this period of the year.
“Our major challenge is whether, which we do not have control over, but from what I have seen so far, the operation is successful.
“I want to commend our fighters who put in their best despite the harsh weather conditions, to protect our territories,” Abubakar said.