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Illegal refineries dismantled as military battles crude oil thieves in N’Delta

More illegal refineries operating in the creeks of the Niger Delta have been dismantled as the military continues the clampdown on crude theft and illegal oil bunkering.

So far, five of such illegal refineries and eleven storage tanks containing illegally refined products were discovered and immobilized by troops Operation Delta Safe.

Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, while briefing Defence Correspondents on military operations, said: “Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering in the zone with significant successes”.

He added: “Within the period under review, troops of 146 Battalion discovered and immobilized 3 illegal refineries containing eight storage tanks loaded with illegally refined oil products around Tangolo Susu, Oputumbi and Promise Land in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“Also, on same day, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE immobilized several illegal refineries around Edeoha Community in Ahaoda East Local Government Area of Rivers State. Similarly, within the period under review, troops of 19 Battalion immobilised an illegal oil depot at Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.

“Additionally, troops of operation DELTA SAFE in conjunction with vigilantes acting on credible intelligence on 23 October 2020 arrested one suspected gunrunner with one AK 47 rifle and 2 magazines loaded with 7.62mm special ammunition around Road Elele-Owerri in Rivers State”.

According to him: “In a related development, troops of 4 Brigade arrested 6 suspected armed robbers with two locally made guns, 3 live cartridges, one knife, 3 mobile phones and a stolen vehicle at Uromi in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State. Similarly, between 22 and 24 October 2020, troops of 146 Battalion discovered and immobilized 2 illegal refineries, three storage tanks and one wooden boat loaded with crude oil around Patrick Waterside, Burukiri and Oputumbi in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“Furthermore, Operations CALM WATERS II and SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record more successes. Within the period under review, several bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon were arrested and handed to Nigeria Customs Service. Also, some boats carrying unspecified quantities of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were arrested. Additionally, the patrol team of Forward Operating Base IBAKA intercepted 2 wooden boats, with 61 drums of PMS collectively.

“The boats were intercepted at lkang Creek, Cross River State. Preliminary investigation revealed that the product was meant to be smuggled to the Republic of Cameroon through lkang waterways. Meanwhile, the 2 wooden boats along with the drums of PMS and the 4 suspects were evacuated to FOB IBAKA Base for further action”.

Meanwhile, highlighting military operations across other zones, Enenche noted that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have sustained the onslaught against terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.

According to the Coordinator: “Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued the aggressive clearance operations in the North-West zone of the country successesfully.

“For the period under review, farm and highway patrols were carried out within the zone thus boosting the confidence of the locals as well as commuters in carrying out their daily activities.

“The gallant troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI within the period carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes and other aggressive and confidence building patrols. These operations led to the neutralization of armed bandits, arrest of suspected bandits and their collaborators, rescue of kidnapped victims and recoveries of rustled cattle as well as large cache of arms and ammunition.

“In one of the operations conducted on 24 October 2020, security forces arrested 13 suspected bandit collaborators at Tangaza town in Tangaza Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

“Similarly troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Katsina State Command, on 27 October 2020, acting on credible intelligence, successfully repelled coordinated attack by bandits on revenge mission on Tsakiya Village of Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State. The gallant troops engaged the bandits in a gun duel thereby neutralizing 5 while others escaped with gunshot wounds.

SOURCE: TheNation