Army vows to deal ruthlessly with political thugs

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The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army (NA) on Tuesday vowed to deal ruthlessly with any political thugs in its area of responsibility during the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections this Saturday.

A press statement by the Headquarters of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and made available to the press in Yenagoa and signed by the Deputy Director Army Public Relations, Aminu Iliyasu, a colonel, said available intelligence points to a plan by some politicians to sponsor thugs to cause crisis.

It is not immediately clear if the NA position is a reaction to the controversial shoot at sight directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to soldiers in cases of ballot box snatching.

The area of responsibility of the NA 6 Division include Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States, an area that contains several election crisis zones worsened by the marine terrain.

The NA statement read: “Credible intelligence available to Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) has uncovered an unholy plan by some political actors within its Area of Responsibility (AOR) to arm and sponsor miscreants in addition to using military-like fatigue dress for deception to cause pandemonium at polling stations for their political gain.

“While covert efforts are on-going to track the source of the weapons and the agents involved in conjunction with sister security agencies, authorities of 6 Division NA wish to unequivocally state that anyone found to be disrupting the electoral process under any guise will be decisively dealt with in accordance with the laws no matter how highly placed he or she is.

“To this end, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division and Land Component Commander (LCC) OPDS Maj Gen Jamil Sarham wish to reassure the good people of Niger Delta of providing adequate security in conjunction with other security agencies before, during and after the 2019 General Elections. He also thanks the good citizens of the Niger Delta for their cooperation and assistance so far rendered to the Division particularly in the area of information dissemination and urge them to do more.”

While the army statement is aimed at addressing election violence, it could indicate a looming bloodbath in the area which has witnessed violence during past elections.
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