Exercise ‘Egwu Eke (Python Dance) ll, which started fully on the 15 September to 14 October 2017 is a normal routine Nigerian Army Field Training Exercise meant to sharpen the skills of the participating troops in the conduct of Internal Security Operations.
The Exercise is also aimed to combating the identified obvious security challenges in the South East (SE) and is well equipped to deal with the rising cases of insecurity such as kidnappings, farmers -herdsmen clashes, armed robbery, cultism, communal crisis, violent secessionist agitations and insurgency of any form among others.
For emphasis, it is necessary to restate that the Exercise and similar ones with different code names in some parts of the country were deliberately initiated and conducted with an overarching aim of checkmating identified security challenges prevalent in the regions where they were carried out.
Some of the successful Exercises include: ‘Operation Awatse’ to tackle militants and oil installations vandals, illegal oil bunkering in the South West, especially in the creeks between Lagos and Ogun States.
Exercise ‘Shirin Harbi’ – In addition to troops training, was also targeted at addressing restiveness, armed banditry, religious upheavals in the North East, especially in Bauchi and Gombe States.
Exercise ‘Shirin Harbi’ is aimed to containing the reign of killers, armed robbery/banditry in Southern Kaduna; Exercise Harbin Kunama in the North East – in combating cattle rustling, armed robbery, banditry, religious insurrection in Sokoto, Kaduna, kano-Zamfara axis.
And Exercise Crocodile Smile, popular in the South-South to deal with criminal elements engaged in the vandalization of oil pipelines and installations.
The first Exercise Python Dance was successfully and commendably conducted in the South East from 27 November – 27 December 2016.
The peculiar security challenges in the region such as kidnappings, abductions, violent secessionist agitations, armed robbery, farmers- herdsmen clashes, communal crisis and an extraordinarily annual traffic gridlock at the Asaba-Onitsha bridge among others which are the focus and targets of this Exercise were then successfully addressed.
The concept of the current Exercise, like the previous one is purely Command Post, Field Training and Real-Time Exercise.
It is aimed to enhance troops’ agility and preparedness across the spectrum of contemporary and emerging security threats peculiar to South Eastern Region (SER).
The Exercise is three in one, in that – it was – deliberately designed as a – Command Post Exercise that transmuted into Field Training Exercise and where necessary it can dovetail into real-time mission or activities such as anti-kidnapping drills, Patrols, Raids, Cordon and Search, Check Points, Road Blocks and Show of Force.
One interesting aspects of the Exercise is that it is multi agency in nature and execution. Relevant Para Military Organizations such as elements of the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, State Security Services and Federal Road Safety Commission are synergizing and collaborating to ensure successful execution and attainment of outlined objectives.
Also, the non-reliance on only Military Line of Operation to achieve the end State of the Exercise was part of the texture of the strategy.
For this season, an elaborate generous Civil Military Cooperation Line of Operation had been successfully planned and will be executed during this Exercise.
In this regard, some relevant Nigerian Army Corps and Services such as the Medical Corps and Engineers Corp will carry out free medical outreaches, roads and schools repairs across the South East Region.
On the whole, the Exercise has numerous objectives. Some of which are; to practice participating Units and Formations on planning, preparation and conduct of Internal Security Operations as well as to deter the activities of kidnappers, cultists, armed robbers and violent secessionist agitators.
Others are – synergizing with relevant Para Military Services to address the identified threats and sharpening the skills of troops towards current and emerging security challenges peculiar to the SER.
Please note, Exercise Egwu Eke ll is now a scheduled Nigerian Army Exercise to be conducted annually in the SER and is not targeted at any individual or group.
Law abiding citizens need not to fear and are advised to freely go about their normal businesses.
By Colonel Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations