Saturday, 9 September 2017

National security: Army warns IPOB, MASSOB, others

The army yesterday told agitators in the Southeast to keep the peace.
It vowed to deal with any act capable of breaching the peace of the region.
It mentioned no one or group by name, but the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have been holding rallies to demand a Republic of Biafra.
The IPOB has also threatened to stop the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State from taking place.
But the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, speaking yesterday on the forthcoming second phase of Exercise Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II) in the geo-political zone, said on no account would kidnapping, cultism, violent agitations, theft of weapons, armed banditry and other security challenges which have become a daily phenomenon in the area be condoned henceforth.
The military operation is scheduled to commence on September 15, according to Buratai who spoke through the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Major General David Ahmadu.
It will run for a month and involve raids, cordon and search, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.
Buratai said Exercise EGWU EKE II has become expedient in view of  ”the mindless assassinations (even in religious places), attack on security personnel, theft of weapons, armed banditry, kidnapping, cultism and  violent agitations, as well as other security challenges that have recently become prevalent in the South Eastern part of the country.”
He added: “The need for troops to be exercised, refreshed and imbibe the requisite skills to cope with these emerging security challenges within the 82 Division Area of Responsibility in aid of civil authority calls for this exercise.
“Also, in actualizing the COAS vision, which is “To have a Professionally Responsive NA in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles”, accentuates the call for the conduct of this exercise in conjunction with other security agencies.
“This operation will be conducted with the involvement of other security agencies such as Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.  “It will also afford the troops an opportunity to effectively checkmate the despicable activities of the marauding criminals perpetrating criminal acts in the region and its environs.
 “Additionally, OPERATION EGWU EKE II is also conceptualized to transit into real time operations thereby fulfilling both training and operations objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals and agitators when called upon. As precursor to a peaceful ember period and yuletide, provision has already been made for the smooth conduct of the operation.
 “Operation EGWU EKE II will be unique with the establishment of Brigade Headquarters in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.
“It is pertinent to mention that Operation EGWU EKE II is set to be another epoch making exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security in the south eastern part of our dear country.
 “In this regard, members of the public especially the residents of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States are enjoined not to panic as their safety and well-being is guaranteed at all times. The general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected criminals may be fleeing from military operations in these areas and finding safe haven amidst our communities.”

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