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The Nigerian Army has announced the commencement of Operation Crocodile Smile as part of veiled efforts believed to be geared towards quelling the ongoing #EndSARS protests.

The army in a statement issued on Saturday by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa said the operation will tackle cyber warfare and insurgency in the country, particularly in the North-East, where Boko Haram insurgents have caused massive destruction.

The statement read, “The exercise is deliberately intended to be all-encompassing and will include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda on social media and across cyberspace. This is the first-ever cyber warfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the armed forces.

“Accordingly, the exercise will also include a 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 North-East, North Central and North West.”

The army stated that it was committed to the sustenance of peace and security in the country and asked members of the public for support throughout the period of the exercise.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: NHRC Sets Up Panel To Investigate Human Right Abuses

However, there are fears that the protests may get bloody when the military operation gets underway on Tuesday despite the army’s claim that it had nothing to do with the protests.

The first indication that the government may be contemplating military action emerged when the Nigerian Army issued a warning to “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist after a week of protests.

Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, in a Facebook post said: “The NA (Nigerian army) hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost.”

In the statement, which many viewed as a veiled threat, Sagir said the army would “support the civil authority in whatever capacity to maintain law and order and deal with any situation decisively.”

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