The Defence headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said the ongoing ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in the South-south region is not commencement of military action against militants in the region.
Defence spokesman, Brigadier Rabe Abubakar, in an interview with Daily Trust noted however that troops deployed in the region on training would ensure security of oil infrastructure.
“The fact of the matter is that we are very much aware that negotiation is ongoing with our leaders, let’s be hopeful that there could be an agreement. So, our presence there does not in any way translate to mean that it’s a signal to internal security actions against the militants,” he said.
Abubakar said there could be some level of military deployment to ensure that miscreants and militants were stopped or contained from destroying oil infrastructure.
He added: “It’s just a normal exercise; Crocodile Smile is an exercise just to refresh our memories on amphibious training. It does not mean that we are warming up for action, but if training is still deemed to be warming up for internal security action so be it.
“You know training must be continuous, security agents must always be training to keep abreast with current happenings, with the modern techniques, modern strategies and ways of doing things,” he said.
The 2 Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army yesterday in Port Harcourt began the Operation Crocodile Smile, while also parading 15 suspected cultists and drug peddlers.
Parading the suspects at the Command Headquarters, the spokesman, Capt. Lazarus Eli, said the suspects were arrested during a raid of some black spots in Port Harcourt old township.
He said it was in continuation of the brigade’s operation against criminals and cultists in Rivers.
“One hundred and forty two suspects were arrested during the raid. However, after profiling the suspects , some were released while 15 are being interrogated and would be handed over to relevant security agencies for further investigation,” he said.
He said the Operation Crocodile Smile show of Force was to display the command’s combat readiness to tackle any act of crime.
The military last Wednesday announced it would launch a series of tactical drills in Enugu from weekend, days after the high command said it might resort to use of force in the Niger Delta if the federal government’s negotiations with militants who are attacking oil and gas installations for months failed.
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