- A new report has said that the phase two of the military's Operation Python's Dance has thwarted growing criminal activities in the southeast
- The report said the exercise by the Nigerian military in the southeast has made the country safer for all citizens
- The report also called for the institutionalisation of the Operation Python Dance as an annual exercise
A report has said that the recent Operation Python II has succeeded in stopping the growing crimes in the southeast region of Nigeria.
The report said the operation launched by the Nigerian army has thwarted crimes like kidnapping, ritual killings, armed robber and other life threatening vices across the region.
In its midterm report, the Independent Human Rights/ Crime Monitoring Group (IHRCMG) in Nigeria said the successes recorded by the Nigerian military in the southeast has made the country safer for all citizens.
Presenting the report in Owerri, on Tuesday, October 10, the team leader of the IHRCMG, Zineke Werigbelegha, said the military exercise was in the best interest of the people.
Werigbelegha said the operation has helped address pressing issues which the civil police were grappling with.
"Resources deployed by such groups procured propaganda that at some point almost undermine the good intentions of the operation. It therefore became relevant to carry out independent assessment of how the operation was conducted," Werigbelegha said.
In assessing the impact of Operation Python Dance II, the research team of the Independent Human Right Group in Nigeria visited the five states of the southeast – Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Abia state and also briefly toured the geographically congruous Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states.
He said in these states, the researchers involved, randomly interviewed residents using samples that made considerations for their gender, age, income level, urban-rural dwellers and religious denomination.
Werigbelegha said the interviews were offset with content analysis and review of media reportage of crimes before and during Operation Python Dance II.
He also said the outcome of this was comparatively assessed with the same period of the previous year.
"It was found that Operation Python Dance II was widely but erroneously perceived as a full scale military operation against the terrorist activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) even when the army sufficiently communicated its intention as a training drill for troops familiarize with the operating environment of the country.
"This perception was not helped by the propaganda launched by IPOB, which was noted as desperate to keep the military out of the southeast while its activities gain further grounds.
"The decision by IPOB terrorists to deny troops right of way in the course of the operation led to potentially volatile incidents that IPOB publicized as attacks on its operational base in Abia state. It was however confirmed that troops professionally managed the situation with several arrests made of the terrorists that had launched attacks on troops," Werigbelegha noted.
The group further said that the conduct of the soldier deployed for the met the expected standards for acceptable rules of engagement during military operations in a civilian area.
The group also recommended that those arrested for obstructing and attacking troops should be put on trial as deterrence for recurrence of such.
IHRCMG said: "Those found to be supporting IPOB as a terror group should be isolated from the political space to send a clear message that people cannot precipitate crisis to get political leverage. Such persons should be put on trial where there is strong enough evidence to arraign them.
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"Operation Python Dance should be institutionalized as an annual exercise. The knowledge that the operation would hold on regular basis will reduce the propensity for dismantled crime groups to re-group."
NAIJ.com earlier reported that US based human rights group called for the immediate withdrawal of troops on the Nigerian army's Operation Python Dance in southeast.
The group, Rapid Response Fact-Finding Mission, warned the army to desist from attacking the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The group urged on the president and the federal government to allow the IPOB leader continue with his trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Check out what Nnamdi Kanu's lawyer said about new military exercise - on NAIJ.com TV.