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Army moves to stop #EndSARS protests, launches exercise ‘Crocodile Smile’

Nigerian Army says it will embark on its annual exercise “Crocodile Smile VI” to identify, track and “counter negative propaganda” in the social media and across the cyberspace for the rest of this year.

Army spokesman, Musa Sagir, said in a statement that the exercise would begin from next Tuesday till the end of 2020.

According to the statement, “This year’s Exercise CROCODILE SMILE V1 is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020.

“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.

“This is the first ever Cyberwarfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the African Armed Forces. Accordingly, the exercise will also include positive identification component aimed at identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the North East and other parts of the country as a result of the ongoing operations in the various theatres of operations, especially in the Northeast, North Central and North Western parts of Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Army, once again, reassures all well-meaning Nigerians of its commitment to the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria and urges members of the public for their support and understanding throughout the period of the exercise.”

The exercise is coming at a time when young persons are out on the streets in major cities across the country.

Under the #EndSARS campaign, protesters have been demanding an end to police brutality.

The protest, which started in Lagos and Abuja last week, has spread to many parts of the country, with Kaduna as the latest.

On Saturday, thousands of protesters marched against insecurity and banditry in Kaduna.

Sagir announced the commencement of “Crocodile Smile” a day after the Army vowed to defend Nigeria’s democracy at all cost.

Responding to the comment from the army, civil society groups had asked soldiers to remain in the barracks and allow the people to express their rights to protest.

The Army first launched “Crocodile Smile” in the South-South in 2016 and has since introduced the exercise at intervals.

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