Reuters | Oct 18, 2020 22:36
(Adds full attribution in second paragraph)
By Camillus Eboh and Alexis Akwagyiram
ABUJA/LAGOS, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Nigerian army will begin
a two-month national exercise, it said on Saturday, while
denying the move was part of any security response to recent
widespread demonstrations against alleged police brutality.
Operation Crocodile Smile would run across the country from
Oct. 20 to Dec. 31, the first time the annual exercise,
typically concentrated in the Delta region, will be nationwide,
army spokesman Sagir Musa said.
The move comes just days after the army said it was ready to
step in and restore order, but Musa said in a statement that the
exercise "has no relationship with any lawful protest under any
Nigerians demanding an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad
(SARS) police unit and pressing for reforms and accountability
have been rallying across the country.
The army had on Wednesday issued a statement warning what it
termed "subversive elements and trouble makers" that it was
"ready to fully support the civil authority in whatever capacity
to maintain law and order and deal with any situation
decisively". Protesters have been using Twitter and the #EndSars hashtag
to spread photos and videos showing alleged police brutality.
Social media is also a hub for organising demonstrations and
Nigerians are using it to collect money and food to feed
protesters and support those who are arrested.
Additionally, a group calling itself Anonymous has claimed
to have hacked various government websites in recent days, and
warned it will continue to hack government websites and Twitter
accounts in order to aid the #EndSars movement.
"The army hereby enjoins all law abiding Nigerians to go
about their lawful activities unhindered as the exercise has
nothing to do with ENDSARS protest, but a yearly event set out
by the (army) in its efforts to ensuring safety and security of
Nigeria and her citizens," Musa said in a statement.
Government officials have not responded to requests for
comment on whether any websites were hacked, and Reuters could
not independently confirm the claims. However Musa said the
exercise would for the first time include cyber warfare
"The exercise is deliberately intended to be all-
encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to
identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social
media and across the cyberspace," Musa said in the release.
Written By: Reuters
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