Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian military has destroyed illegal refineries as well as kidnapper’s camps in Bayelsa, Rivers and Imo States in the Niger Delta region of the country.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, in a statement yesterday, said the troops of 2 Brigade Nigerian Army conducting field training exercise code named “Operation Crocodile Smile” have within the last 48 hours discovered and destroyed 74 illegal refineries.
Usman said the troops also destroyed quite a number militants and kidnappers camps in various parts of Rivers and Bayelsa States using swan buggy and other specialists equipment.
He said the troops of Sub-Sector Bravo had on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in response to a tip off on the presence of suspected kidnappers at Akupoku community, carried out a raid at the location.
He however, stated that no arrest was made as the kidnappers have fled the area.
The DAPR said the team also raided Ke community, at the verge of the Atlantic ocean where they discovered and destroyed an illegal refinery.
“The troops recovered and destroyed three large cooking pots and 20 tanks filled with illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO),” he stated.
Similarly, Usman said, another set of troops also discovered and destroyed another illegal crude oil refinery at Bile. Items recovered and destroyed include 12 large refining cooking pots.
He said: “The troops exercising along Abonnema axis were also informed of the presence of suspected kidnappers at Abakrikri Fishing Pot, they swung into action and carried out cordon and search operation, however, no contact or arrest was made.
“The troops of 130 Battalion also raided suspected kidnappers camp at Awukiri. Although no contact was made, the troops recovered an AK-47 rifle empty magazine, six face masks, a machete and several empty shells of expended ammunitions. The troops destroyed the camp. The troops have also intensified search for the kidnappers nests and other criminal elements camp for clearance.”
“The Medical unit of 2 Brigade has been dispensing free medical service at Twon Brass in Bayelsa State. The troops would continue their field training exercise, while the humanitarian assistance will continue with provision of educational materials and free medical assistance to the host communities this Friday,” he added.
In a related development, Usman stated that the troops of 34 Field Artillery Brigade also involved in Operation Crocodile Smile conducted raid on two major kidnappers camps belonging to “De-Well” and “De-Gbam” cultists groups in Umoubi and Umudike forests, both in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State on Thursday, September 8, 2016.
He said that during the raid, one Chigozie aka “Chi boy”, a notorious kingpin of one of the cult groups lost his life, while another member was later discovered dead in the forest and quite a number of the gang members were believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds.
The Army Spokesman said the troops also recovered quite a number of military uniforms and mobile telephones and other household items before destroying the camps to prevent the cultists regrouping in the area.
He said that they have continued to comb the general area for other members of the kidnapping syndicate.