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By John Owen Nwachukwu
The Nigerian army has stated that there is no evidence that people were killed in the Southeast during the Operation Python Dance II.
It said reports that its personnel murdered members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, were just hearsays.
Speaking with Punch, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division , Colonel Sagir Musa, said the operation will continue next year as Operation Python Dance III.
According to him, “People were said to have been killed but these are hearsays, these are claims, these are assertions, these are rumours, with no evidence.
“Can you show me the dead bodies? And can you tell me who is responsible? Certainly you cannot do that. So I think the best option is to go to another question that we can verify.
“Let ’s be specific and direct, when we showed our presence in Abia State, the same way we have shown our presence in other states in the southeastern part of Nigeria, namely in Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo states, we were not quelling any riot because there was no riot at that time to quell.
“What we were doing, and we made it sufficiently clear, was an exercise. A Nigerian Army exercise! It is routine, it is normal. We had it last year, and because it is a scheduled annual training exercise, we are having it this year, and next year, by the special grace of the Almighty; we will still conduct the exercise , Egwu Eke III (Python Dance III). Now we are on Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II ). So it is not something new.
“Well, without being immodest, not only me, even you asking that question, you are satisfied . If you go to the police headquarters in all the states that Python Dance II is taking place, they will tell you that crime rate in the last few days has gone down.
“Even the Federal Road Safety Corps will tell you that accident statistics have gone down to a reasonable standard in the last few days.
“And I am telling you that in terms of agility, preparation, physical fitness, alertness and training objectives, I think we are gradually getting there. It is being achieved.
“So the obvious benefits are there.”