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Another top ISWAP commander, Mallam Ari, eliminated by Nigerian Air Force in Borno

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BORNO: Death toll from deadly ISWAP assault rises to 69

The spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, on Tuesday confirmed that airstrikes carried out by NAF Super Tucano jets in the Kirta Wulgo of Borno State on Monday, eliminated a top commander of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), identified as Mallam Ari, as well as scores of other terrorists.

While giving a situation report to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Gabkwet said the ISWAP senior commander was in charge of the Kirta Wulgo axis and was one of those who, alongside foreign mercenaries, fabricated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), for the terrorists.

The NAF spokesman said the airstrikes were carried out following “credible intelligence reports which revealed that over 40 terrorists had converged on the fringes of Kirta Wulgo, close to a point where a suspected ISWAP flag was hoisted.”

He added: “Some were also seen with weapons around a nearby makeshift structure, which was a likely indication that the structure might have had a high calibre terrorist target.

“After the airstrikes, some of the surviving terrorists were observed making frantic efforts to put out the fire that ensued while others took to their heels.

READ ALSO: ISWAP insurgents reportedly attack community in Biu, Borno

“Indeed, the makeshift structures were significantly burnt and destroyed at the fringes.

“Several ISWAP fighters were neutralized in the air strikes including one Mallam Ari who was identified as the Fiya of Kirta Wulgo.

“A Fiya, by the structure of ISWAP, is a title held by the second in the hierarchy of the terrorists’ military structure.

“You will recall that recently, ISWAP leadership made sweeping changes to their structures due to the loss of some of its key members killed mainly through air strikes by NAF aircraft,” the statement said.

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