Group deplores deployment of soldiers to South East on Operation Crocodile Smile VI
A South East-based group, the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), has faulted the recent deployment of a special squad of soldiers to the South-East on a mission known as Operation Crocodile Smile VI, describing it as unnecessarily “ill-timed and ill-advised.
In a statement by its President-General, Goodluck Ibem, and Secretary-General, Kanice Igwe, the group also accused military authorities of using the tactics to kill people from the geo-political zone.
The statement read: “The Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), the umbrella body of all the youth organisations in the South-East geopolitical zone, is alarmed over recent flag-off of Operation Crocodile Smile VI by the Nigerian Army in the South-East geopolitical zone that is totally peaceful in all sense of the word.
“This move is ill-timed and ill-advised and also represents a calculated attempt to use kinetic and brute force in administering a peaceful region. We recall that such operations by the Nigeria Army usually end in killing our youths in the name and under the pretext of security enforcement. The infamous operation code-named Python Dance or Egwu Eke in 2017 still haunts the collective memory of South-East youths to this day. The aftermath of the hijacked #EndSARS protests was followed by loss of lives of youths in their prime.”
The group recalled tragic incidents that occurred during the #EndSARS protests, saying: “It is on record that during the #EndSARS protests, the army killed unarmed Mr. Ebere Osuigwe, a 35-year-old young father of five at his residence at Osuigwe Lane, Aba, Abia State on his way to collect his phone from a neighbouring building.”
“Another young man was killed by the army at Milverton Street in Aba on the same day and other youths who were killed, throwing the families of these slain persons into sorrow and anguish. That the Nigerian army rather than focus its operation in Borno and other northern states where Boko Haram terrorists and insurgents have killed so many security agents, sacked many villages and took administrative control of some, and even have the effrontery to attempt the life of a sitting governor (assassination-style target) despite heavy security details attached, leaves much to be desired.
“We advise the Nigerian Army to take its Operation Crocodile Smile VI to Borno, Katsina, Adamawa and other northern states ravaged by Boko Haram terrorists and armed bandits. South-East is not in any war and is very peaceful. It is totally out of place to bring in the army to a very peaceful locality when its concentration should have been disturbed and troubled places within the polity.”
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