Army Begins Exercises In Southwest, Southeast, Others To Tackle Cultism, Kidnapping

Army Begins Exercises In Southwest, Southeast, Others To Tackle Cultism, Kidnapping
  • PublishedOctober 8, 2023

The Nigerian Army is launching a new initiative amidst the rising wave of kidnapping, armed robbery, and other criminal activities across the country.

Three exercises are scheduled to be conducted by the army over the next three months in the southern and northern parts with the North East and North West as the only exceptions.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, told reporters yesterday in Abuja that the North West and the North East currently have Operation Hadin Kai and Operation Hadarin Daji and have no need for fresh preparations to tackle criminalities.

Nwachukwu spoke on a day terrorists abducted nine persons including six members of a family and three other persons at Tsohuwar Kasuwa community in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara State and 24 hours after troops of Joint Task Force South East Operation UDO KA II raided an alleged camp of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its paramilitary arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Imo State, resting two suspects.

The rising wave of insecurity had also attracted the attention of the Senate which on Thursday invited service chiefs to brief it on the steps being taken to mitigate rising insecurity across the land.

Nwachukwu explained that the planned exercises would run from this month to December and then transform into full-fledged operations.

They are codenamed “GOLDEN DAWN III” in the South East; “ENDURING PEACE III” in the North Central and “STILL WATERS III” in the South-South and South West.

“These exercises are designed to improve individual and collective professional competence and would dovetail into real-time operations to tackle various peculiar security challenges in the geo-political zones,” Nwachukwu said.

The army spokesperson said exercise GOLDEN DAWN III would tackle security challenges in the South East, such as armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, communal clashes which, according to him, usually become pronounced in the build up to the yuletide, when many citizens return home to celebrate.

He said: “The exercise will focus on enhancing the capabilities of our troops in intelligence gathering and effective, proactive response to criminalities.

“With the exercise, we aim to improve the security in the Southeast and ensure safety of the populace during the period that will culminate in the yuletide.”

Nwachuckwu said in the North-Central, exercise ENDURING PEACE III , would address farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping, ethno-religious conflicts and terrorism among others.

“The exercise will equip our troops with the necessary skills to combat banditry, including hostage rescue operations, intelligence-driven raids and effective coordination with other sister services and security agencies,” he said.

On STILL WATERS III planned for the South-South and South-West, he said the exercise would tackle the menace of cultism, robbery, and kidnapping.

“It will equally seek to address the challenges of pipeline vandalism and other forms of economic sabotage. The exercise will also focus on securing critical infrastructures,” Nwachukwu said.

“Our troops would be trained on advanced surveillance techniques, rapid response tactics and the use of technology to effectively counter pipeline vandalism.

“By conducting this exercise, we aim to curb economic sabotage, protect national assets and ensure a stable environment for economic growth.”

Responding to a question on why the Army decided to launch fresh operations in the South East which already has Operations Udoka, Nwachuckwu said the focus of the current one is addressing secession agitations and the criminalities associated with the agitations in the region, while exercise GOLDEN DAWN III is geared towards addressing crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping and other crimes associated with the yuletide.

He said: “During the three months that will culminate into the yuletide, October, November and December, many Nigerians will be returning from overseas.

“During this period, the expectation is that the tendency for kidnapping is higher and to nip this in the bud, we are being proactive by springing up these exercises.”

He said there are non-kinetic operations embedded in the exercises like medical outreaches that will bring succour to Nigerians in order to win their heart and minds to support the exercises.

  • Yusuf Oketola

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