Buratai: Army did not declare IPOB terrorist organisation

Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai: Chief of Army Staff

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai told journalists in Abakaliki on Monday evening that the Defence Headquarters did not declare the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a terrorist organization contrary to reports in the media.

The Army Chief who spoke during the official launch of Operation Python Dance II said the Defence Headquarters only made a pronouncement on IPOB while the appropriate authorities will take the right steps on the matter.

“You have to get it very clear. First of all, what the Defence Headquarters did was to make pronouncement. It wasn’t a declaration per se. But this has given room for the right step to be taken. I think the government is doing the right thing.

“It is not that we are overstepping our bounds. We are still within the limits. And I ensure you that what the military said was to set the ball rolling and to bring the awareness to the public that this is what this organization is all about. I’m happy that the government has done the right thing right now.”

The Army Chief said troops will abide by the rule of law and rules of engagement in carrying out the Exercise Egwu Eke II which kicked off on Saturday in the region.

During a courtesy to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, the Chief of Army Staff also noted that Operation Python was aimed at improving the security situation in the zone and the country.

He added that the exercise will help to bring about the much needed peace and security and also be used to train the Military in basic internal security.

“They army have taken into cognizance the security of the people in deployment of its personnel for the operation”.

“The army is very sensitive to the cultural norms of the people and will abide by all the rules of engagement and code of conduct that have been laid down which is quite in tandem with the Constitution,” he said.

Some of the activities of the exercise, he said  will include Patrols, indoor battle exercises, Civil-Military cooperation activities like medical outreach, sanitation, donation of books to schools etc.

Buratai therefore appealed for understanding as it is just an exercise to help improve security of lives and property within the zone.