By Mukwuzi Joseph
Mastermind of the downing of the fighter jet of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in July has been identified as Ali Kachalla and it has been alleged that he wanted to capture the pilot of the fighter jet alive.
Recall that Abayomi Dairo, a flight lieutenant and pilot of the jet, survived after he successfully ejected from the aircraft which was shot down near Kabaru village, located some 15 km west of Dansadau town in Zamfara state.
Daily Trust reported that Kachalla who is one of the bandit leaders operating in the north-west region of the country, is in his thirties and reportedly stepped up attacks on Dansadau town to protest the blocking of supplies to him from the town and the villagers’ help in the escape of the military pilot who he wanted to capture alive.
The bandit leader reportedly controls over 200 armed men in Kuyambana forest and is known to take special interest in ambushing military personnel. According to the publication, the armed men outnumber most of those in other gangs in the area.
A source in the area said;
“His settlement consisting of several strings of thatched huts is on Birnin Gwari side of the river. But, his large herd of cattle being manned by his heavily armed boys is based in Zamfara State.
“As I’m talking to you his boys can be found in Dandalla, Madada and Gobirawa Kwacha communities. The villages are all situated southeast of Dansadau town. They are all being controlled by the armed men.”
Kachalla and his men in one the attacks, reportedly set an armoured personnel carrier ablaze after chasing security forces deployed in the town.
A source said;
“Dansadau community has drawn the ire of Kachalla and his boys after local traders were blocked from selling food to him.
“There are some unscrupulous elements among the local traders who still take bread, soft drinks and other groceries to the bandits in the forest.”
The residents of the community recently protested against the business transactions and blocked every move by the traders to deal with the bandits.
Security operatives in collaboration with other residents have stepped up efforts to arrest suspected informants.