The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday assured that the ongoing military operation code-named “Operation Crocodile Smile” in the South-south region, was not an indication of its plan to commence action against recalcitrant militants in the region.
The Acting Director of Defence Information, Rabe Abubakar, stated this yesterday in an interview with Daily Trust.
According to him, troops deployed in the region on training, would ensure security of critical oil and gas 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.
Mr. Abubakar, a Brigadier-General, said there could be some level of military deployment to ensure that miscreants and militants were stopped or contained from destroying oil infrastructure.
“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”, the Defence spokesman added.
Speculations that the military was planning to launch an offensive against militants in the Niger Delta heightened last Wednesday following a series of tactical drills in Enugu from weekend, days after the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, hinted that military action might be deployed if the federal government’s negotiations with militants who are attacking oil and gas installations for months, failed.