The Nigerian Army says it will continue to observe the two-week ceasefire declared by Federal Government, even as militants continue their attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.
Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, said this on Wednesday, while briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting held at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
He said that the decision was part of the resolutions reached at the end of a meeting of field commanders and principal staff officers, which was convened by the Chief of Army Staff in Abuja.
He, however, warned that the military would resume its operations in the region if the militants continued to disregard the ceasefire.
Attahiru said that the meeting of the Army’s field commanders was also held to appraise the current security situation in the country, with a view to finding solutions to them.
He said that the Army would apply its rules of engagement in its operations in the Niger Delta, especially where it was deemed necessary.
“The Chief of Army Staff called a meeting of all Principal Staff Officers and General Officers Commanding, as well as Directors in the Army Headquarters.
The meeting is essentially to brief us on the aftermath of the meeting in the Presidency and give further operational directives on the happenings in the Niger Delta.
The two-week ceasefire was such that all military operations in the region were supposed to stop to enable government to apply the non-kinetic means of reaching out to the militants.
Now, the militants have resorted to continue with the attacks on pipelines, we will tarry for a while and if this does not stop, we will decisively act wherever it is necessary,” he said.
Attahiru said that applying the rules of engagement in the military’s internal security operations was not an aberration but a means of preserving the unity and dignity of the nation.
“The issue of applying the rules of engagement is to emphasise our adherence to the necessary procedures in internal security operations,” he said.
Attahiru warned that the military would no longer tolerate further attacks on its units and formations in the Niger Delta or elsewhere in the country.
“Recently there was an attack on Nigerian Army troops in the Niger Delta; that will no longer be tolerated. Anywhere troops are attacked, formation commanders will apply the rules of engagement to the fullest, they will follow the attackers to wherever they came from,” he warned.
Attahiru said that the meeting also deliberated on other operational issues, particularly those relating to training in the Nigerian Army.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting had in attendance all the GOCs, unit commanders from all parts of the country as well as senior officers at the Army Headquarters.