The Nigerian air force has deployed some of its air assets to give cover to ground troops currently on Operation Python Dance II.
They are deployed to assist the Nigerian army 115 special operations group in Port Harcourt.
Olatokunbo Adesanya, the director of public relations and information, NAF headquarters, said this in a statement in Abuja.
Adesanya explained that it was in line with NAF’S commitment to national peace and security as well as providing the necessary air cover to the ground troops to enhance overall operational cohesion and efficiency.
He explained that the wide expanse of area which the exercise covers necessitated the request by the Nigerian army for close air support.
“The exercise is aimed at combatting security challenges in the region,” he said.
“The deployment of air assets in support of the NA is in fulfilment of one of the constitutional mandate of NAF.”
The operation which began on September 15 has attracted criticism owing to the clashes recorded in Abia state between the army and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi state government has declared support for the ongoing army exercises – Egwu Eke, Python Dance II – in the south-east zone.
David Umahi, Ebonyi governor, declared the support when he received Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff.
He, however, urged the army to keep to its rules of engagement.
“We support the army; we support the exercise, but please dance by the rules of engagement; dance in the bush, not in the street,” the governor said.