Airstrikes executed by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on August 20, 2022, have destroyed Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) leader, Fiya Ba Yuram’s enclave in the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
While it was not clear if the ISWAP leader was killed or not, several of his foot soldiers were killed in the operation.
Other airstrikes were also carried out on terrorists’ training camps in the Tumbuns of the Lake Chad Basin, killing scores of them.
According to a military source, NAF aircraft under the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI on August 20, 2022 carried out some strikes on terrorists’ enclave in Sambisa Forest and the Tumbuns, both in Borno State, with varying degrees of successes recorded.
The source said the military authorities acting on credible and actionable intelligence, directed NAF aircraft to an active location in Sambisa Forest believed to be the enclave of notorious terrorist, Fiya Ba Yuram.
“Fiya Ba Yuram is the current ISWAP leader of Sambisa Forest who took over the leadership following the demise of Abubakar Shekau.
“Please note that the title ‘Fiya’ connotes the most senior position in the terrorist’s military leadership structure.
“Note also that Yuram was an ally of Shekau until his demise after which he switched allegiance to ISWAP,” he said.
He added that on arrival, the location was observed to be active with terrorists seen gathering, hence airstrikes were then authorised and carried out on the location.
“An assessment of the location after the strikes revealed it to be successful, though it remained unconfirmed if Fiya Ba Yuram was among the terrorists neutralised in the strikes,” he said.
The senior officer said similar airstrikes were also undertaken in the Tunbuns near Lake Chad after suspected terrorist activities were observed in the area believed to be a training camp.
“The targets were subsequently acquired and engulfed in flames all after. The aftermath of the airstrike revealed that pandemonium broke out as the remnant of surviving terrorists took cover under nearby trees which were later struck by the aircraft,” he added.
The source said even though it remained uncertain and unclear if Fiya Ba Yuram was among the terrorists neutralised in the weekend’s airstrikes, the efforts of military must be commended.
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who confirmed the strikes declined to provide details of those killed.
The NAF spokesman said, “Yes strikes were carried out on some specific targets in the Tunbuns and Sambisa with varying degrees of successes recorded. The NAF won’t however be drawn into the details of those neutralised.”