The Nigerian Army said yesterday that it decided to embark on Operations Python Dance 11 and Crocodile Smile 11 in the South East and South South geopolitical zones of the country in order to tackle the rising challenges of militancy, kidnapping and pipeline vandalism.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, stated this while speaking at the executive session of the ongoing 13th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He said the ongoing Operation Mesa in Northern states and the Middle Belt is aimed at tackling challenges of cattle rustling, herdsmen-farmers clashes and kidnapping.

Buratai, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major-General Enobong Okon Udoh, said the exercises are aimed at focusing the personnel to relative professional scenarios as against stimulated training sessions.

He said, “The core value that emanate from professionalism and responsiveness in my own opinion include training, welfare, operational exigencies, logistics, civil-military cooperation, interagency cooperation and observance of human rights.

“Typical examples of pillar of professionalism and responsiveness are the exercises that the Nigerian Army has been conducting in all established areas in the country. These exercises are aimed at focusing the personnel to relative professional scenarios as against stimulated training situations.

“Exercise Hadi Kunama 11, which took place in Southern Kaduna and Samgore forest in Kaduna respectively, the clearing operation in Niger and Zamfara States as well as the forthcoming Exercise Crocodile Smile 11 and Exercise Egwu Eke, which is ongoing are typical examples.

“More of such exercises are being planned to tackle existing security challenges in the country. The challenges of cattle rustling, herdsmen-farmers clashes and kidnapping in some Northern states and the Middle Belt are being tackled through the conduct of Operation Mesa.