Nigerian Army to conduct ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ for 2-month from Oct 20
Two days after it issued a statement urging those it termed “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist from such acts or face its wrath, the Nigerian Army on Saturday said it will begin a two-month national exercise tagged ‘Operation crocodile smile.’
The Army has, however, denied that the exercise has anything to do with the ongoing nationwide protest organised by #endsars campaigners against Police brutality.
In a statement by the acting Director Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa, the Army said that the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ would run across the country from Oct. 20 to Dec. 31, the first time the annual exercise, typically concentrated in the Delta region, will be nationwide.
Musa, a Colonel said the exercise “has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever.”
On Thursday, the Army had warned those it termed “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist from such acts or face its wrath.
Thursday’s statement was generally believed was targeted at the ongoing protest by Nigerian youth demanding the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit and pressing for reforms and accountability have been rallying across the country.
Musa said on Thursday the army will “deal with any situation decisively” in its determination to defending the country and her democracy “at all cost.”
Protesters have been using Twitter and the #EndSars hashtag to spread photos and videos showing alleged police brutality.
Social media is also a hub for organising demonstrations and Nigerians are using it to collect money and food to feed protesters and support those who are arrested.
Additionally, a group calling itself Anonymous has claimed to have hacked various government websites in recent days, and warned it will continue to hack government websites and Twitter accounts in order to aid the #EndSars movement.
“The army hereby enjoins all law-abiding Nigerians to go about their lawful activities unhindered as the exercise has nothing to do with ENDSARS protest, but a yearly event set out by the (army) in its efforts to ensuring safety and security of Nigeria and her citizens,” Musa said in a statement.
Government officials have not responded to requests for comment on whether any websites were hacked, and Reuters could not independently confirm the claims. However, Musa said the exercise would for the first time include cyber warfare training.
“The exercise is deliberately intended to be all-encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace,” Musa said in the release.