The Nigeria army says it is not pulling its troops out of Abia state.
In a news conference on Thursday, Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia state, said the army had agreed to pull its troops out of Aba and Umuahia – the two most volatile areas of the state.
He also said he was working to ensure the total withdrawal of troops from the state.
But in a statement issued on Thursday night, Sani Usman said the army would carry out its Operation Python Dance II to “logical completion” in the state.
“The attention of the Nigerian army has been drawn to some stories in the media that it is withdrawing its troops from Exercise Egwu Eke II, crediting such information to Abia state governor and the general officer commanding 82 division Nigerian army. This is not true. The Nigerian army wishes to enjoin members of the public to disregards such rumours,” he said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Abia state governor in his speech stated that ‘there will be gradual withdrawal of soldiers on the streets of Aba and Umuahia from tomorrow’. This should not be misconstrued as withdrawing of troops earmarked for Exercise Egwu Eke II. The general officer commanding 82 division has not said such thing.
“Consequently, we wish to state that Exercise Egwu Eke II is commencing tomorrow as scheduled. Commanders have been instructed to ensure that all hands are on deck to commence the exercise to its logical completion. We wish to state further that the successful completion of the exercise will dovetail into the various states security outfits till the end of this year.”
There have been clashes between the army and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Abia since Monday.
Members of the group razed a police station and burnt vehicles in protest against the army crackdown in the state.
Some witnesses told TheCable on Thursday that the army killed two members of the group and took away their bodies.