Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 3 December 2016 | 11,111 times
The Nigerian Army has reacted on the controversy and tension filling the air in the South-East following the kick off of the one-month field training in the zone tagged ‘Exercise Python Dance’.
The Army on Friday described the apprehension among the people as misplaced, saying that the exercise was not targeted at any individual or group of people but purely a command post and field training exercises meant to enhance troops’ preparedness across spectrum of contemporary security challenges peculiar to the South-East region.
In a statement made available to journalists, the Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, said that since November 27, 2016 when the exercise began simultaneously in the five states that make up the zone, various groups, including human rights activists, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and notable individuals, had reacted, with some calling for its suspension in view of perceived hardship on the people.
Musa said: “For emphasis and clarity, Exercise Python Dance is not targeted at MASSOB/IPOB or any individual or group. It is only a field training exercise that is designed to, where necessary, dovetail into real time activities such as anti kidnapping drills, patrols, raids, cordon and search, check points, road blocks and show of force. This is with the aim of checkmating anticipated rising wave of crimes usually prevalent during the yuletide period.
“Recall that similar exercises were successfully conducted in different regions of Nigeria. For instance, Exercise Shirin Harbi was conducted from 17-19 April, 2016 in 3rd Division area of responsibility to take care of insurgency, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes in the North East region.
“Similarly, Exercise Harbin Kunama was held in 1 Division area of responsibility from 9-15 July, 2016 to rid the North West region of banditry, insurgency and cattle rustling, among other menaces. Also, Exercise Crocodile Smile was conducted from 5-10 September, 2016 in the Niger Delta region with an overarching aim of reducing incidences of illegal bunkering, oil theft, sea piracy and other peculiar criminalities across the entire region. These exercises were, in all standards, successful.
“Consequently, in the same vein, Exercise Python Dance has been planned for the South East region from 27th November -27th December, 2016. The prevalent security issues such as armed robbery, banditry, kidnappings, herdsmen-farmers clashes, communal clashes and violent secessionist attacks among other security threats in the region would be targeted.”
Musa called the general public to disregard the unfounded fear and allegations orchestrated by ill-meaning individuals and groups that the exercise is a plot to kill IPOB members, adding that the assertion is not only insidious and mischievous, but is also devious and bunkum and should be disregarded.
•Photo shows Nigerian Army Headquarter
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