The FG through its spokesmen and other ministers, including the Minister of State for Petroleum, had promised that it would not resort to using the military to solve the militancy crisis in the Nige delta. However, all such promises were broken as on Friday, the military embarked on a precursor exercise to Operation Crocodile Smile in the region.
“The 133 Special Forces Battalion of Nigerian Army troops have carried out a precursor operation to Exercise ‘Crocodile Smile’ aimed at getting rid of all forms of criminal activities in the Niger Delta geopolitical region of Nigeria.” He said in the course of the operation, “five militants that attacked the troops were killed in action, while numerous others were injured and 23 suspects were arrested.” ThisDay quotes the Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman as saying.
This operation, Usman said, led to the death of 5 militants who engaged the military in fire as well as the arrest of 23 suspects.
ThisDay reports that apprehension could be felt along the waterways of the Niger Delta during the weekend following the announcement by the army spokesman. Leaders of youths affected in the area have decried the recent developments, labelling the FG as insincere in its promises to use dialogue not force.
“The unfortunate fact is whether government is sincere in this whole business. How can the military within the period announce that they are carrying out an exercise in the Niger Delta? They should have suspended whatever exercise they wanted to carry out…The communities are apprehensive and many people are now running away from their homes… It is wrong. They should suspend any form of activity because there is an interpretation of a sinister motive in their activities.” president of Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, Mr. Udengs Eradiri said.
Part of this article originally appeared in ThisDay Newspapers