By Emma Acha
The Nigerian Army says it has commenced investigations into the alleged breach of human rights in the ongoing Operation Python Dance in the South-East.
The Col. Sagir Musa, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations in the 82 Division, made the disclosure in Enugu on Thursday while speaking with our correspondent.
Videos of alleged tortures of some youth in some parts of Abia have gone viral in the social media.
According to Musa, in line with the rules of engagement and code of conduct guiding internal security operations, those found wanting, if any, would be dealt with.
“The Nigerian Army does not encourage or condone indiscipline and unprofessional conduct in any form,’’ he said.
The army spokesman maintained that its troops did not kill anybody in Aba as insinuated in the social media.
He explained that the Python Dance 11 was conducted every Ember month to check obvious criminal activities including kidnapping, armed robbery and the recent secession agitations in the zone.
“Python Dance 1 was conducted in September 2016 in the zone and it was a huge success because rate of crime dropped drastically and people celebrated their yuletide peacefully.
“Even road accident rates also dropped from reports by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC),’’ he said.
Musa regretted that the second exercise received high criticisms.
He appealed to the general public to use the dedicated mobile phone numbers issued for credible and reasonable complaints about the conduct of the troops and the entire operations.
In another development, the army spokesperson received the South-East Human Rights Situation Room led by Prof. Joy Ezeilo on the violence in the South-East.
Ezeilo urged the military to adopt international human rights law and global best practices in carrying out the exercise in the zone.
She solicited the partnership and cooperation of the Nigerian Army in sensitising the public to the operation, adding that the group had established a hotline, 09060002128 to receive reports of any infractions.
The law professor appealed to residents of the zone to be law abiding and shun violence in any situation.