Ali Kachalla, one of the bandit leaders operating in the north-west has, reportedly, been identified as the mastermind of the downing of the fighter jet of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in July.
The fighter jet was returning from an air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states when it came under heavy fire from bandits and crashed in Zamfara.
TheCable had reported how Abayomi Dairo, a flight lieutenant and pilot of the jet, survived after he successfully ejected from the aircraft.
According to Daily Trust, Kachalla’s men who have their hideout in Kuyambana, brought down the jet near Kabaru village, located some 15 km west of Dansadau town.
The newspaper reported that shooting down the NAF jet might be Kachalla’s most daring exploit yet, but for residents in the troubled Dansadau district, his name has been on their lips, especially in recent times.
Kachalla, the newspaper said, has 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.
He is said to have carried out a series of brutal attacks on communities in the district and he is known to take special interest in ambushing military personnel.
Kachalla, who is in his thirties, is reported as a leader controlling over 200 armed men in Kuyambana forest.
“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,” the newspaper quoted a source in the area who craved anonymity.
“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’s men are described as “fearless fighters” who have been laying ambush for security operatives for a long time. His boys are also said to outnumber most of those in other gangs in the area.
In one of the attacks, his men reportedly set an armoured personnel carrier ablaze, after chasing security forces deployed in the town.
“Dansadau community has drawn the ire of Kachalla and his boys after local traders were blocked from selling food to him,” one source told Daily Trust.
“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 NAF is yet to provide any update on the attack.