The Nigerian Air Force said it had deployed seven fighter jets and attack helicopters to Benue and Taraba states in an ongoing Operation Whirl Stroke, to tackle the herdsmen and farmers’ violence in the two states.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, confirmed the deployment in Makurdi, Benue State, during an induction of the seventh platform – an Mi-35P attack helicopter on Saturday.
According to Abubakar, the deployed aircraft are two F-7 fighter jets, two Mi-35 helicopters, one ATR plane, one 350 King air surveillance aircraft and one Mi-35P helicopter.
The air chief said the military operation, which also covered Nasarawa State, would seek an end to the violent clashes between the herders and the communities.
“The deployment is targeted at checkmating the farmers/herdsmen’s clashes and it shows the military’s commitment to the protection of the citizens and their property in all parts of the country.
“The induction of the Mi-35P aircraft in the operation is to increase security presence in the states,” Abubakar noted.
According to a statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Air Force, Samson Okwu, was also in Benue State with the air chief during which they were briefed by the operation’s Joint Task Force Commander, Maj Gen Adeyemi Yekini.