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We Are Not Withdrawing From South East, We Commence Python Dance II Today – Army

The Nigerian Army has faulted the announcement yesterday, by the Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, that its officers would withdraw from the South East from today, Friday, saying that instead the Egwu Eke Exercise (Python Dance would fully take off today as scheduled
This was even as the Army denied the rumour makiong that rounds that its officers invaded some communities in Abia state, saying: we want to firmly reiterate that there is no invasion of any community by the soldiers in Abia State and in the entire South Eastern part of Nigeria.”
In a separate statements by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman and Deputy Director of Public Relations for the 82 Division Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, the Nigerian Army described the Abia state governor’s announcement of withdrawal of army as mere rumour.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Abia State Governor in his speech stated that “there will be gradual withdrawal of soldiers on the streets of Aba and Umuahia from tomorrow.”
“This should not be misconstrued as withdrawing of troops earmarked for Exercise EGWU EKE II. The General Officer Commanding 82 Division has not said such thing.
“Consequently, we wish to state that Exercise EGWU EKE II is commencing tomorrow as scheduled. Commanders have been instructed to ensure that all hands are on deck to commence the Exercise to its logical completion. We wish to state further that the successful completion of the exercise will dovetail into the various states security outfits till the end of this year.
“Members of the public especially in the areas where the exercise will take place are please enjoined to go about their lawful businesses. We wish to also state that we would not allow any individual or group to jeopardize the conduct of the field training exercise through unlawful or criminal activities. Hoodlums and criminal elements are once again warned to be law abiding and not cause any breach of peace.
“We hereby reiterate that our troops would conduct themselves in the best professional manner, abide by the Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct in line with requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Any act of indiscipline by any of our personnel would be decisively dealt with. While we enjoin all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, the Nigerian Army urge all to support the troops as they carry out their constitutional duties and make Exercise EGWU EKE II a success.”
The Army said that those it called mischief makers, propagandists and supporters of violent secessionist agitation as well as any other person or group with criminal disposition are the ones that are wickedly peddling the rumour that its officers invaded communities.
“Soldiers in Aba are lawfully deployed, with clear mandate, Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct to combat identified obvious security challenges in the South East Nigeria.
“Thus, issues of kidnappings, cultism, farmers -herdsmen clashes, violent secessionist agitation and insurgency of any form among other menaces have been made severally and soundly clear as the focus and target of Exercise EGWU EKE 11.
“The earlier we appreciate this and work together, the better for the peace and security of our state.” [myad]

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