The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the Federal Government will increase to 10,000 the number of troops in the Niger Delta by 2017.
The FG has so far deployed 3,000 military personnel as part of operation ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in the region.
The Army Chief disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, at the Government House, Yenagoa on Thursday. The Army chief said his visit was part of the OCS operations.
“The army has deployed about 3,000 officers and men, as well as equipment for the exercise. “The number of personnel will be increased to 10,000 by next year.” Buratai added that the exercise was aimed at training officers in marine combat operations. “because the state is largely riverine and borders the Atlantic ocean and therefore prone to external aggression.”
The COAS explained that the military had also been engaged in promoting civil, military relationship in the areas of medical outreach to citizens, road maintenance and education. He added that the military took its rules of engagement seriously, even during conflicts.
Buratai assured the communities in the Niger Delta that the ongoing military exercise was designed to protect them. He told the communities to remain calm, noting that troops involved in the exercise understood the rules of engagement and would strictly adhere to them.