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23 Niger Delta Militants Killed in Operation Crocodile Smile

Valentine Chinyem

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In a bid to stamp out criminals and make the Niger Delta region safe again, the Nigeria Army has killed 23 militants in its operation code named, “Operation Crocodile Smile”.

Speaking to newsmen in Enugu on Saturday, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Enugu, Major General Ibrahim Attahitu, described the operation as a huge success, owing to the fact that 55 assorted weapons were recovered and 38 camps destroyed.

” The precursor operations were followed by ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ proper, which was orchestrated and conducted with sequencing and lines of operation to upgrade the skills, expertise and competence of the troops in land and riverside environments”.

“Over 3,000 soldiers were deployed along two axis on land, creeks and the general littoral area of the Niger Delta region, while forward-operating bases were established from where operations were conducted along the creeks and littoral area,” he said.

He added that, 91 illegal refineries, which includes bunkering sites and underground tunnels used by the criminals were destroyed in the exercise which lasted for ten days. He however added that, four soldiers died during the operation, explaining that three lost their lives in a boat mishap while one died during cross fire with the militants.

Speaking further, the GOC said, “Books, stationeries and generators were donated to some schools while others were given facelift and infrastructure improvement.

“The effects of these humanitarian programs were immediately felt in the peaceful and warmth relationship that existed between troops and local communities throughout the exercise period,’’ he said.

Noting that the assistance from other security agency’s has been “very emphatic”.

More so, he described as laudable the recent voluntary handover of arms and ammunition by militants in Imo and Rivers.

“By and large, the exercise was a huge success as those engaging in economic sabotage were stopped during the period, while a number of criminals, militants and economic saboteurs were also arrested,’’ he added.

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