from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA – THE Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed female officers to aid the fight against the Boko Haram terror group northeast of the country.
Known as the ‘Women of War’, it is anticipated their presence will help eliminate the Islamist sect that has been perpetrating a violent campaign to overthrow the government.
“We call them ‘Women of War’ as they are well trained to engage in combat and combat support operations for peace, security and national development,” said Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar.
He said the women had showcased their professional capacity as fearless and courageous military personnel as pilots, loadmasters, aircraft maintenance engineers, aerospace engineers, armament specialists, squad leaders, combatants, loadmasters, military police and air traffic controllers among other trades.
“Some of them (women) regularly fly Beechcraft, a special fighter plane used for gathering intelligence, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance,” Abubakar said.
NAF has recently been empowering female staff.
One is undergoing training in the United States to become the first female fighter pilot in the history of the NAF.
Another officer is undergoing training in South Africa to become the first NAF female helicopter gunship pilot.
Nigeria is contending with the threat posed by the Boko Haram in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
In December, it deployed 2 000 police officers to assist the military in eradicating the terrorists whose insurgency has led to the death of some 20 000 civilians and displacement of over 2 million others.