Insurgency: NAF to deploy 150 newly trained special forces

A total of 150 Advanced Special Forces operatives of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), trained in collaboration with the British Military Advisory Training Team are to be deployed to troubled areas facing security challenges across the country.

This is even as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, expressed confidence that with the deployment of the special forces operatives in various theatres of operations, NAF and indeed Nigeria would derive significant benefit from their dedication and unique capabilities.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at the NAF Regiment Training Centre Annex, Special Operations Command, Bauchi, on Friday, Air Marshal Amao, expressed optimism that the newly trained Advanced Special Forces operatives had imbibed the necessary skills, tactics, techniques and procedures required to conduct special operations pursuant to achieving the operational objectives of the NAF.

Represented by the Chief of Policy and Planning of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, Amao said that the current spate of insecurity in the country necessitated the intervention of NAF.

According to the CAS, NAF’s ability to conduct air raids without hostile interference and respond swiftly to threats had been key to minimising hostile attacks on the civil populace.

“These operations are critical given the myriad of asymmetric security threats facing the nation today which require intervention from the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Nigerian Air Force in particular.

“Indeed, our ability to conduct air without hostile interference and respond swiftly to threats, has been key to minimizing hostile attacks on the civil populace thereby providing a foundation for our successes.

“Our successes in the various theatres of operation have, however, necessitated the need for heightened security on our Bases.

“Accordingly, the Nigerian Air Force has made concerted efforts, over the years, to build our internal capacity and resilience for force protection by boosting the strength of our Regiment and Special Operations Forces personnel through purposeful training and human capacity development,” Amao said.

He stated that pursuant to his vision of an enhanced and sustained critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives, NAF had so far trained about 5,000 Regiment and 2,000 Special Operations Forces personnel.

The CAS said the graduating 150 students of the Advanced Special Operations Course 1/2022 were the first set of personnel to undergo in-country advanced special operations training, which he revealed was executed at a reasonable cost, as the training was conducted in Nigeria.

The training, according to Amao, was largely facilitated by the support NAF received from the British Military Advisory Training Team.

While appreciating the British Military Advisory Training Team for its continued support, the CAS expressed the hope of further collaboration from the British team in the next batch of the Advanced Special Operations Forces.

Earlier in his welcome address at the event, the Air Officer Commanding, Ground Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Ibukunle Daramola, said that 285 personnel were nominated for the Advanced Special Operations Course 1/2022 training, but only 150 graduated.

“Out of the 285 personnel nominated for the course, only 150 were found fit after series of medical and physical screening and inaugurated to commence the course.

“At the end of the course, 145 personnel, comprising three officers and 142 airmen will be graduating today (Friday) and they have been found worthy in character and learning to qualify as Advanced Special Forces Operatives, also known as Nigerian Air Force Panthers,” he said.

Also speaking, the Commander, British Military Advisory Training Team, Colonel Rory Shannon, described as “deep-rooted and very strong” the relationship between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

“At the Security and Defense Dialogue that was held between the United Kingdom and Nigeria’s Armed Forces and other Agencies in January of this year, our Chief of Defense Staff spoke, reiterating a desire to strengthen links between our militaries, including in this particular area.

“The Nigeria-UK relations is hugely important. The deployment of what we’ve conveyed here will help save lives and defeat a common enemy. So, I know that there are continuing close cooperation, we will continue to contribute to improving the security situation,” he said.

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