Op Python Dance continues as scheduled, Army clarifies Gov Ikpeazu’ claim

The Nigerian Army has refuted reports that it is going to withdraw troops in Abia State and said that the ongoing “Operation Python Dance II” in the South East will continue.

The governor of Abia State had during a press briefing on Thursday evening announced that there had been an agreement with the Nigerian army to gradually withdraw the soldiers from the state.

However, in its reaction, the Army in a statement last night signed by Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said the public should not misinterpret the statement by Governor Ikpeazu.

According to him, the Army was not totally going to halt the Operation Python Dance II in the five states of the South East, of which Abia is one.

He said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to some stories in the media that it is withdrawing its troops from exercise EGWU EKE II, crediting such information to Abia State Governor and the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army. This is not true. The Nigerian Army wishes to enjoin members of the public to disregard such rumours.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Abia State Governor in his speech stated that ‘there will be gradual withdrawal of soldiers on the streets of Aba and Umuahia from tomorrow’.

Read also: Cowed? Army withdraws from Abia Streets

“This should not be misconstrued as withdrawing of troops earmarked for Exercise EGWU EKE II. The General Officer Commanding 82 Division has not said such thing. Consequently, we wish to state that exercise EGWU EKE II is commencing tomorrow (Friday) as scheduled. Commanders have been instructed to ensure that all hands are on deck to commence the exercise to its logical completion,” the statement read.

There have been reports of human rights abuses and killings of unarmed civilians in the state following the exercise since Sunday, September 10.

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