General Tukur Burutai had warned some days ago that the Nigerian Army would use “Kinetic means” if dialogue with militants failed.
A statement released by Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, stated the modus operandi of the mission.
“The Nigerian Army will from this weekend commence another training exercise code named “EXERCISE CROCODILE SMILE.
“It will begin 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.
“Troops will 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.
True to threat, the Nigerian Army took on militants today beginning in the Arepo area of Ogun State.
They also launched operations in parts of Lagos State.
The military engaged aerial bombardment of suspected militant bases.
Scores of militants were reportedly killed in the joint military operation which lasted for more than one hour.
One other resident said “An aircraft had actually been surveying the creek for the past three days.
“But a second one joined this evening around 6pm.
“All we heard was a sudden bomb blast released from the second aircraft.
“But it appeared that some of the militants had fled into the bush.
“There are four major bases of the militants in the creek and they are led by two men- OC and Agbala.
“If the military can get these two people, then they would have succeeded in clipping the wings of the militants.”
The Director, Defense Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, corroborated the story stating that “The military only conducts its routine operation for the purpose of denying the vandals and other criminal elements from causing terror in the area.
“The operation was initiated by the defense headquarters to dominate the area.
“The plan is to flush out all manners of criminals including militants and saboteurs.
“The operation involved the joint forces of the navy and army and it has been successful.”
The Lagos State Police command also claimed they were part of the operations.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State, SP Dolapo Badmos, “The Nigerian military and policemen from the Lagos and Ogun commands are part of the operation.
“We are sweeping through the waterways where we share boundaries to end the activities of the militants.
“It is a continuous exercise and we cannot tell the number of casualties.”