The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has advised those living around the Arepo and its environs not to panic due to the ongoing air operations in the area.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Information of NAF, Group Capt. Ayodele Famuyiwa, in Abuja on Wednesday .
Famuyiwa said that the attention of NAF had been drawn to apprehension and panic by members of the public living around the are
“It has become necessary to allay the fear of the people with a view to sustaining public confidence and support for the ongoing operations against pipeline vandal in the South-West region.
“NAF wishes to assure the general public, within the affected areas of their safety as the ongoing air operation is carefully planned to avoid collateral damage to the civil populace and property.
“NAF is careful to ensure that only legitimate targets such as observation post, anti-aircraft gun position, boats laden with suspected stolen petroleum products and armed combatants, are selected for strike,” he said.
He explained that in aligning with the best global practice, NAF usually undertakes surveillance flights before and after each strike to mitigate incidental harm to civilians and property.
Famuyiwa added that pre-strike assessment missions were undertaken to help identify and select legitimate military targets for neutralization.
While post-strike or Battle Damage Assessment Missions were meant to ascertain whether the desired degree of impact was achieved or not, and if a follow-up re-attack is required.
He said that NAF pilots were adequately trained, and as professionals, would not engage in human right violations and abuses.
“The successes recorded in the past five days since NAF commenced strike mission in Arepo in support of surface forces under display of absolute professionalism by NAF pilots involved in the operation as no single incident of collateral damage has been recorded.
“NAF, working in collaboration with men of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Services (SBS), has set on fire the hideouts and camps used by the pipeline vandals in Arepo.
“As a result, community leaders and members of the public withuseful information on the whereabouts of the fleeing vandals and other criminal elements are requested to oblige such information to the security agencies.
He, however, urged the civil populace not to panic but to go about their legitimate busses.