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Python Dance: We support you, but respect the rules of engagement - Gov Umahi to army

Python Dance: We support you, but respect the rules of engagement - Gov Umahi to army

- Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state has declared support for the Nigerian army’s Operation Python Dance campaign

- The governor however appealed to the army to respect the rules of engagement and dance in the bush, not on the streets

- The chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, gave the assurance that the army would abide by the rules of engagement, and urged citizens to show understanding

The Ebonyi state government has declared support for the ongoing Nigerian army exercise – 'Egwu Eke', Python Dance II, in the southeast zone, NAN reports.

The state governor, David Umahi, declared support for the campaign when he received the chief of army staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He, however, urged the army to keep to its rules of engagement.

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He noted that there was misconception of the exercise by some people in the region.

He said that the first phase of the exercise, which took place in the zone between November and December 2016, recorded success without any reported case of human rights abuse or molestation.

“We support the army; we support the exercise, but please dance by the rules of engagement; dance in the bush, not in the street,’’ the governor said.

On the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafa (IPOB), Umahi condemned the activities of the group, saying “we do not address perceived injustice through violence’’.

The governor said the state was enjoying relative peace in terms of security. He called for army establishment of army formations in the border between Ebonyi and Cross River, to address recurring communal clashes in the area.

Earlier, the army chief restated that the exercise was designed to sharpen the skills of personnel to be able to deal with internal security issues.

Buratai stressed that Egwu Eke was carefully planned in the interest of the southeast and not targeted at any group, saying that security was “key to development’’.

“We assure you that our troops will abide by rules of engagement and code of conduct,’’ he said.

He said that alongside the exercise, the army would render humanitarian services such as medical outreach and sanitation in various communities in the region and urged the people to show understanding.

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Meanwhile, previously reported that the Nigerian army’s 82nd Division provided free medical services in Abakaliki Local Government Area, Ebonyi state, as part of the ongoing Operation Python Dance campaign.

The military personnel which included doctors, nurses and other staff, diagnosed ailments and dispensed medications free of charge to patients.

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