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Nigeria Airforce Denies Paying Ransom To Bandits

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The Nigerian Airforce denied accusations in the media on Sunday that it had paid N20 million to armed bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft cannon that had been confiscated.

“The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to news reports circulating on some media platforms alleging that the NAF, through one of its personnel, paid the sum of N20 Million to armed bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized,” said Edward Gabkwet, Air Commodore Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force.

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He stated emphatically that the NAF wishes to state categorically that there is not one particle of truth in the claim, calling it as bogus.

He claimed that the report was intended to cast doubt on the service’s positive reputation.

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“The NAF would not have reacted to such a baseless and entirely irrational charge except for the necessity to clear the air and underline the NAF’s unwavering commitment to dealing decisively with armed bandits and all other criminal groups in the country.”

“It must be noted for the avoidance of doubt that there is no justification for the NAF to pay bandits or any criminal elements that it has continued to battle and decimate in Katsina State, other regions of the North-West, as well as other Theatres of Operation in the Country,” the statement read.

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He went on to say that on October 12, 2021, NAF aircraft flew five missions in the Jibia general area, engaging targets with rockets and cannons at Bala Wuta bandits’ locations in Kadaoji, and that similar successes were recorded at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities.

According to the statement, the fake reports could be part of a strategy by elements that perceive the NAF as a danger following a number of successful exploits in operations against criminal groups to promote the cause of insecurity in Nigeria.

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“NAF wishes to appeal to members of the local and international media, as well as social media, to be cautious in their reporting and to always verify their facts before becoming public.”

“The public is urged to disregard the falsehoods propagated by some elements of social and mainstream media.”

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“The NAF also takes this occasion to encourage civilians to continue cooperating with security services as efforts to clear the entire Nation of criminals and their activities continue.”
The statement went on to say

The statement went on to say that the NAF, as a professional and disciplined force, will not be deterred from carrying out its mandate to rid the entire North-West Nigeria of banditry and other forms of criminality, and that it will continue to work in tandem with other sister Services and security agencies to rid the country of all criminal elements.

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