Army Blast off offensive against kidnappers, bandits, others


The Army on Monday launched a nationwide offensive against criminals, telling deployed troops to be ruthless with elements causing insecurity in the country.

Three military exercises launched simultaneously include “Golden Dawn” for the Southeast; “Still Water” for the coastal areas and “Enduring Peace” for the Northcentral and Federal Capital Territory.

He said the exercises, which would entail joint operations between the military and other sister security agencies, were designed to check all forms of criminality.

Kicking off the operation in Enugu, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya said the operation scheduled to run from October 4 to December 24 will create an enabling environment for socioeconomic activities to thrive across the country.

Troops were ordered to be ruthless with criminals but also respect the rights of law abiding citizens and adhere to the rules of engagement guiding the field exercise.

General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Lawrence Fejokwu and the Commander 9 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Lander Saraso stressed this yesterday, telling the troops to curb kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry and other crimes within Lagos and Ogun states.

Fejokwu told residents of both states to expect increased military presence in the day and at night during the operation.

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Lt.-Gen. Yahaya appealed to residents to volunteer useful information on the activities of criminals in their neighbourhoods in order for the exercises to achieve their purpose.

He also urged members of sister security agencies and military personnel to work as a team and bring out their various specialties to drive the overall success of the exercises.

“You should leverage their friendship and linkages with members of the public to provide real-time security information meant to checkmate activities of all sorts of criminal elements,” he said.

At the launch of “Exercise Golden Dawn” in Igbariam, Anambra State, Commander, 302 Artillery Regiment, Col. Abdulkarim Usman identified threats in the region which the operation is meant to curb.

He said, “The threats range from secessionist agitations by the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN).

“Others are banditry, kidnapping, cultist activities, land disputes clashes, communal clashes, chieftaincy issues clashes, assassinations and youth restiveness. To curb these countless security challenges, a robust posture is what the unit has always maintained.”

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