The 35 Artillery Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Bassey Adonkie, disclosed this while giving an appraisal of the exercise during the closing ceremony of the Crocodile Smile 2 at 192 Battalion, Ajilete, Ogun State.
He said the Crocodile Smile 2 was aimed at flushing out pipeline vandals, kidnapers and miscreants.
“The exercise led to the arrest of suspects including armed robbers, kidnappers and recovery of ammunition.
“So far, a total of 399 suspects were arrested for different offences across as the South-West region and handed over to various security agencies concerned.
“In addition, 20 assorted arms were recovered, while illicit drugs were also recovered and handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency,” he said.
The commander, who said over 1,000 officers participated in the exercise, added that criminal activities had reduced following the crackdown which denied the hoodlums freedom of action.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. David Ahmadu, said that the exercise leveraged on the gains of the Crocodile Smile 1.
“Experience drawn from the exercise conducted in 2016 revealed that criminals and miscreants do fled from areas of ongoing operations to seek safe haven and cause security menace in areas hitherto regarded as peaceful.
“It was in line with this development, that I deemed it necessary to extend the areas of coverage for this year’s exercise crocodile smile, to cover the South-West and South-South regions of the country,” he said.
He said that the closing ceremony should not be regarded as the end of the exercise and urged the men to sustain the tempo of the operation.