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THE NATION: Since the Army launched Operation Python Dance in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on November 28, with a directive that the exercise be reenacted in other formations across the Southeast, one question has stood out: is the Army about to crack down on the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB)?
No, said Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division Enugu, Enugu State, Col. Sagir Musa; it is only a security strategy to keep the region safe during the festivities.
At the 14 Brigade Headquarters in Ohafia, Abia State where our reporter witnessed the Python Dance launch, there were mock crisis situations which the army swiftly put under control, to demonstrate its readiness to contain crisis. Some members of the public also saw how the military receives and processes information before moving into a situation warranting intervention.
The Abia launch was supervised by the Chief of Operations and Training, Army Defence Headquarters, Major General David D. Ahmadu.
The Python Dance exercise, according to Col. Musa, will last one month, ending in January. Other security and para-military organisations in Abia also witnessed the exercise.
Major General Ahmadu shed more light on the IPOB and MASSOB issue, clarifying that Operation Python Dance was designed to enforce peace, without necessarily targeting any secessionist groups.
The army has come under heavy criticism by pro-Biafra groups, which claimed that the military was planning to declare a state of emergency in the Southeast and was using the Python Dance not only to check the activities of pro-Biafra agitators but also hunt down anyone who would take to the streets in solidarity with the detained leader of IPOB and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. 



Maj. General Ahmadu said, “We are not zeroing in on IPOB, MASSOB or any other group for that matter; it is for general internal security. Everybody needs peace in the region and that is what the exercise was meant to provide by checkmating the activities of hoodlums in the area and not necessarily targeting any group”.
The Army Chief of Training and Operations was of the view that by involving its officers and men in internal security of the nation, the military had not in any way contravened any section of the constitution.
He said the army would rather work with sister organisations and para-military agencies to ensure the success of ‘Operation Python Dance’ in the Southeast from December till January 2017.
The Brigade commander of 14 Brigade, Ohafia Brig-Gen Lawrence Fejokwu told journalists that the exercise, which he said was the first of its kind in the area, would see the military working with other security agencies to ensure that peace reigned in the area during the Christmas period.
Fejokwu said if necessary, the army would assist the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in ensuring that the roads were made free for easy follow of traffic during the yuletide.
The 14 Brigade Commanding Officer stated that since IPOB and MASSOB are not posing any security problem in the state, ‘Operation Python Dance’ was not specially targeted at them, stressing that kidnappers and those who involved in other crimes would have no hiding place.
All the military and para-military organisations operating in the state, except the police attended the launching performed by Maj.-Gen Ahmadu and other top military brass including commander of 144 Battalion, Asa, Lt.-Col Umar Kasim Sidi.
Original post on THE NATION

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