Human Rights Activists and field researcher of the Global Amnesty Watch, Terrance Kuanum has stated that the Launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile by the Nigerian Army would not clamp down on peaceful protesters across the country.
He stated this during an interview with select news media on Sunday. Mr Terrance Kuanum believed that the Nigerian Army has evolved into a professional force with respect for human rights.
“The Nigerian Army of today is not what it used to be. This is what most Nigerians have not come to realize. I say this in my capacity as a field researcher that has traversed most parts of the country and where the Nigerian Army are in operation in North-East Nigeria, as well as other parts of the country. The conduct I must state has been exceptional.”
“This is not the first operation or exercise the Nigerian Army has conducted. Don’t forget that only recently, Operation Sahel Sanity was extended for a further three months and its scope expanded to include states in North Central. And I must add that they have conducted themselves most professionally that resulted in tremendous success.”
On the timing of the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile to coincide with the protest across the country, the Human Rights activists rubbished the claims that it was intended to clamp down on peaceful protesters demanding reforms for the Nigerian Police Force.
“I disagree with such a position. I am not sure the Chief of Army Staff would sanction such a move owing to his track record in ensuring that the operations of the Nigerian Army conform to human rights tenets. We must not also forget in a hurry that indeed the Nigerian Army has a Human rights desk across all its units and formations to investigate complaints from individuals, organizations and institution on rights violation involving Nigerian Army personnel.”
“If this has been the norm, why on earth would one imagine that the Nigerian Army would clampdown on peaceful protesters before the full glare of the whole world. If not for anything they should know that this is the digital age and almost all the protesters have smartphones with which they use to capture proceedings. It would be indeed foolhardy for such to happen. I think Nigerians must be circumspect in their assumptions at the risk of heating an already tensed polity.”
Mr Terrance Kuanum also stated that the bulk of the misinformation making the rounds concerning the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile might be the handiwork of those that intend to capitalize and hijack the peaceful protest to achieve their aim.
“As a field researcher, over the years, I have come to understand some of the dynamics inherent in the Nigerian society. We must realize that at every point in time, there are various interest struggling for relevance to the pursuit of their agenda. There are those whose stock in trade is to fan the embers of war so that their businesses can thrive. Some want to advance their political interest, and the only way they could get that done easily is to instigate conflict and spread mischief. Some are experts in causing distractions in the country so they can perpetuate their nefarious activities.”
“It is indeed a complicated chain we are dealing with, and I won’t be surprised that there are certain interests that have seen this peaceful protest by the youths as the perfect opportunity to discredit the government and the emphasis is to hijack it and cause mayhem of unquantifiable dimension. I think the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile indeed rattled them and they have elected to spread misinformation across the country. Was the mandate of Exercise Crocodile Smile not explicit?
“The Nigerian Army has said its upcoming Exercise Crocodile Smile will tackle cyber warfare and insurgency in the country, particularly in the North-East, where Boko Haram insurgents have caused massive destruction. If this is the operational mandate, how does one then link it with an attempt to clampdown on peaceful protesters?”
He added that Nigerians must understand that there is a grand plot been hatched to cause violence in the country by some individuals and organizations.
“Without mincing words, I believe those that are afraid of Crocodile Smile are those with ulterior motives. Not the peaceful protesters because so far they have conducted themselves in an appreciable manner devoid of confrontation or provocation. They are only demanding for an end to police brutality and a reform of the Nigerian Police Force. I do not see a crime in that, and I also do not see a justification for the Nigerian Army to clampdown on the protesters.”
“It would indeed be a great disservice if the Nigerian Army does clamp down on the protesters, and not on the heels of the numerous initiatives that have been introduced by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen TY Buratai towards the entrenchment of respect for the rule of law and tenets of human rights.”
“I believe the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen TY Buratai has set a very high standard in terms of human rights and the citizens have no reason to fear the troops at any point. But those that are planning to foment trouble by hijacking the protest to their advantage should have every reason to be afraid. This is my candid opinion.”
On the effectiveness of such operations when there is widespread protest across the country, Mr Terrance Kuanum stated that the exercise is timely and would go a long way to identify and track down terrorist operating in the cyber world.
“We must admit that Nigeria has been experiencing cyber-attacks in recent times that is capable of undermining our territorial integrity. And it is to the credit of the Nigerian Army that such an operation is launched, which is an indication of advancement in the operations of the Nigerian Army. I believe if the Nigerian Army does not have such capacity, it will not launch an operation.”
“It is my considered opinion that the operation is timely and it behoves on well-meaning Nigerians to extend their support to the Nigerian Army by refusing to be misled by those vested interests that have ulterior motives occasioned by the misinformation passing the rounds. It must also be realized that the threat to Nigeria’s sovereignty transcends beyond the physical, and that is the orientation that must change. This is indeed a proactive step by the Nigerian Army.”
Operation Tura Takaibango: Army Unleash Terror On Boko Haram Criminal, Kills Many And Recover Ammunition In Borno
Troops of Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO a subsidiary Operation of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the North East continue to obliterate elements of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals with uncommon ferocity as they overrun Abbagajiri and Dusula towns in Damboa.
Latest encounter with the marauding Boko Haram criminals according to the acting Director Defence Media Operations Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, occurred by 0835hrs on 20 January 2021 at Abbagajiri in Damboa LGA of Borno State where the Gallant troops identified and encircled some Boko Haram criminals’ enclaves.
“The troops of 402 Special Forces Task Force Brigade led by the Commander engaged them with superior fire power resulting in high casualty on the terrorists.
“In the aftermath of the decisive encounter, 5 Boko Haram Terrorists were neutralized while few others are believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds.
“Equipment captured from the criminals include; one Pulemyot Kalashnikova Tankovyy(PKT) Gun, 3 AK 47 Rifles, 4 extra AK 47 Rifle magazines and a Vulcanizing Machine. Other items captured and destroyed includes food stuffs, some Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making materials including the criminals’ hideouts and clothings among others.
“The renewed onslaught against the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals by the dogged troops of Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO is indicative of the end of all criminal elements within the North East.” He said.
He commended the troops of Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO for their dedication and determination in flushing out remnants of the terrorists from their hideouts.
General Onyeuko further assured the entire populace of the North East region of the Nigerian Army’s renewed vigour and determination to crush the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals from their enclaves in this zone.
Insecurity: Troops Kill 7 Terrorists, Destroys Gun Trucks
Troops of Operation Tura Takaibango in conjunction with Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole have eliminated scores of Boko Haram terrorists and destroyed seven of their gun trucks in Matte, Borno.
The acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Benard Onyeuko, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Onyeuko said that unconfirmed number of the terrorists were killed when they attempted to attack troops location at the outskirts of Marte in Marte Local Government Area on Saturday.
He said the troops, acting on reliable information about the attack, had positioned themselves in an ambush site where they tactically ambushed the terrorists and opened fire.
According to him, this led to fierce battle that resulted in the successes against the terrorists.
“The troops are still engaged in pursuit of the fleeing terrorists for further exploitation.
“Further details of interest to members of the public will be communicated later,” he said.
Operation Sahel Sanity: Troops Record Success In Northwest , Many Bandits Arrested
The Nigerian Army said Troops of Operation Sahel Sanity has neutralized more bandits and arrested suspected collaborator in Katsina State.
In a press statement signed by the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko on Tuesday said in furtherance directive of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai extending Operation SAHEL SANITY to March, the gallant troops have increased the momentum of the Operation.
According to him they have continued to dominate the Northwest theatre with confidence building patrols, robust and aggressive ambushes coupled with clearance operations.
This according to Onyeuko is with a view to completely wipe out the remnant bandits and other criminal elements from the region.
“Consequently, on 2 January 2021, based on credible human intelligence about movement of armed bandits sighted crossing Garin Inu in Batsari LGA heading towards Bugaje in Jibiya LGA both in Katsina State, troops deployed at Batsari swiftly mobilized and laid ambush along the bandit’s route at Garin Garus”.
“While at the ambush position, the gallant troops made contact with the marauding armed bandits and engaged them with overwhelming fire power thereby neutralizing 5 bandits while others escaped with varying degrees of injuries as indicated by traces of blood along their escape routes”.
Onyeuko noted that further exploitation of the area by the gallant troops led to the capture of 3 AK-47 rifles and 2 AK 47 Rifle magazines loaded with 18 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition.
“Relatedly, on 3 January 2021, troops deployed at Dan Ali village acting on reliable information from reliable sources arrested a suspected bandits’ collaborator named Ya’u Tukur at Sabon Gida village in Kankara LGA of Katsina State”.
“During preliminary investigations, suspect confessed to be working for a notorious bandit gang which has been masterminding nefarious crimes including kidnapping for ransom in various places. Troops are on the trail of other members of the notorious gang”.
Furthermore, Onyeuko said on 4 January 2021, troops deployed at Maraban Maigora acting on credible information arrested one Yahaya Aliyu while riding on a new motorcycle.
“The arrest was executed following reports from reliable sources on the suspect’s alleged involvement in kidnapping and facilitating payment of ransom for kidnap victims in the area”.
“During preliminary investigations, suspect admitted his involvement in the alleged crimes, adding that the motorcycle he was riding was part of a bounty as ransom from a kidnapped victim”.
“Additionally, on 8 January 2020, troops deployed at Yankara while acting on a tip off arrested a suspected bandit’s collaborator named Alhaji Adamu Mamman around Yankara general area in Faskari LGA of Katsina State. Suspect has been at large following his involvement of harbouring bandits in his house”.
“In another development, on 10 January 2021, troops deployed at Sabon Layi while clearing bandits enclaves around Maigora general area in Faskari LGA of Katsina State, came in contact with armed bandits at Unguwar Rimi leading to a fierce gun battle”.
“The troops were swiftly reinforced by another team from Faskari and supported by Helicopter Gunship delivering a lethal blow to the criminals thereby forcing the bandits to withdraw in disarray into the forest due to troop’s superior fire power”.
He said during the exploitation phase of the operation, 5 bodies of neutralized bandits were found while several others were suspected to escape with gunshot wounds as indicated by blood stains on their escape route.
“Regrettably, one brave soldier paid the supreme price while 2 others sustained minor injuries during the encounter. The wounded soldiers are in stable condition and currently responding to treatment in a military medical facility”.
The statement further commended the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY for the successes and their unequaled commitment.
“They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is rid of all criminal elements”.
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