A large number of trucks conveying military men have been moving towards the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. Eyewitnesses in Makurdi, Benue State capital, said they were sure the armed men were going to war in the Niger Delta or the South-South region.
The Nigerian Army has stated on Facebook that it would engage in a training exercise this weekend. It said: “The Nigerian Army will from this weekend commence another training exercise codenamed ‘EXERCISE CROCODILE SMILE’ in 82 Division and part of 2 Division areas of responsibility traversing the South-South geo-political region.
“The aim of the exercise is to practice our Special Forces and other units of the Nigerian Army in amphibious and internal security operations in riverine environment and also check criminal activities like kidnapping, militancy and piracy and other forms of criminal activities in support of the civil authority.
“The general public is please requested not to panic on the sight of unusual movement of large number of troops, heavy military weapons and equipment in these areas.”
Army chief Gen. Buratai had indicated that the army would use force if the federal government’s talks with the Niger Delta Avengers failed. Many have criticised the statement.
The militants said they were aware the federal government had been buying drones and other equipment in preparation for war.