Army to begin Operation Python Dance III, others soon, says Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has disclosed that the Nigerian Army would soon deployed its personnel to various parts of the country to contain ongoing threat to security in the country.

He said the troops would be deployed under Special Forces, such as Operation Python Dance III in the Southeast, Operation Crocodile Smile III in the Niger Delta and Southwest and Harbin Kunama III in the North to contend cattle rustling in that part of the country.

Buratai spoke in Abuja, yesterday, after leading officers and men on an annual 15-kilometre route match that culminated at the Mogadishu Cantonment in the city, tasked officers and men to be on alert, as they could be deployed any moment there was any need for that.

He reiterated that some officers and men could be deployed at short notice to assist what he called “civil authorities” to contend insecurity in any part of the country and charged them to be prepared for the task.

The army chief could not, however, give a clear picture on whether the troops would carry out similar exercise in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states, following incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes in those states, which have resulted in several killings.

He said: “Well, we are not thinking of any particular situation; we are going to train on general areas, which could include that aspect as well.

“But our focus will be to ensure that security is provided across the country.

“So, definitely, expect Harbin Kunama III, Crocodile Smile III and Egwu Eke Dance III and probably another exercise coming, which will be made known at the appropriately time.”

Operation Python Dance I & II, Operation Harbin Kunama I and II were among others conducted in 2016 and last year, respectively, to deal with the menace of cattle rustling and herdsmen/farmers clashes in parts of Northwest and North-Central, while Crocodile Smile and Egwu Eke Dance were conducted in the Niger Delta and the Southeast, respectively, last year to tackle pipeline vandalism, oil theft and piracy, violent agitation and kidnapping.