Military Shuts 13 Illegal Refining Sites in N’ Delta

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Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Military authorities said yesterday that troops of Operation Delta Safe dismantled 13 Illegal refining sites set up by oil bunkerers in the Niger Delta region.

The military also recovered 9,856.1 barrels of stolen crude, 1,339,000 litres of illegally refined diesel or Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 500,000 litres of kerosene or DPK while 24 suspected oil thieves were nabbed.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, Coordinator, Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Major General John Enenche, said troops of Operation Delta Safe sustained the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the South-South zone.

Enenche, who spoke during the weekly briefing on military operations at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), said the operation which was conducted between 14 to 20 January 2021, also covered illegal maritime activities.

“In the course of their operational activities, six illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 52 Gee Pee tanks, 102 metal tanks, 17 dugout pits and 45 ovens were immobilised.

“Also, 24 suspects arrested while 14 pumping machines, two speed boats and 13 outboard engines were recovered.

Additionally, he said, “a total of 9,856.1 barrels of stolen crude oil and 1,339,000 litres of illegally refined AGO as well as 500,000 litres of DPK were recovered”.

Enenche said Nigerian Navy Ship Delta anti-crude oil team in conjunction with Forward Operating Base Escravos conducted anti-illegal bunkering operations.

During the operations, he said, the team de-activated illegally refining site at Egwa Creek, Warri South West Local Government Area.

“The illegally refining site had seven refining units (ovens), 16 metal storage tanks, 84,000 litres and 105,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO and stolen crude oil respectively”, he said.

Meanwhile, in the North-west, Enenche, disclosed that “troops of Operation Hadarin Daji and other subsidiary operations have sustained their operations in the North-west zone of the country progressively.

“Notably, on 17 January 2021 following credible intelligence on movement of armed bandits with rustled animals at Bungudu LGA of Zamfara State, troops of Forward Operating Base Kekuwuje, responded immediately and made contact with bandits.

“In the course of the encounter, 30 armed bandits were neutralised while 24 cows and unspecified number of sheep were recovered.

“Similarly, still on same 17 January 21, troops deployed at Maradun received information of reprisal attack by armed bandits at Janbako village in Maradun LGA of Zamfara State. Troops swiftly mobilized to the area to forestall the reprisal attack, but they were ambushed short of Janbako village where firefight ensued. “The gallant troops overwhelmed the bandits and neutralised 5 of them”, he said.

In another development, following actionable intelligence, two suspected bandits’ collaborators named Mustapha Sani and Murtala Sani were arrested at Dungun Muazu village in Sabuwa LGA of Katsina State.

He said suspects were in custody for further action as

the gallant troops were unrelenting as they continue to dominate the North-west theatre of operation with aggressive fighting and aerial patrols to deny the criminal elements freedom of action.

In the North East, he said “troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have not relented in their efforts to decimate the Boko Haram and ISWAP elements operating in the North-east zone of the country. The Coordinator of DDMO said between January 14 and 20 2021, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies conducted several ground and air operations with renewed vigor. He said the operations further degraded the capabilities of the terrorists and denied them freedom of action within the theatre of operation with result evident in the attendant results recorded within the period.

“In the period under focus, troops of subsidiary Operation Tur Takai Bango in conjunction with the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole destroyed seven terrorist gun trucks and decimated several unconfirmed number of the terrorists’ sects in an operation. This, he said, occurred when the criminal elements attempted to attack troops’ location at the outskirt of Marte Town of Borno State in which, the combined troops engaged and overwhelmed the terrorists with superior firepower.

“After successfully repelling the BHT/ISWAP attack on Marte that led to the destruction of the seven gun trucks in the combined grounyd and air operation, the Air Task Force also obliteratephd additional six gun trucks of the terrorists and eliminated scores of them in an attack on 16 January 2021.

“These feats were achieved when the Nigerian Air Force helicopter gunships engaged and destroyed the terrorists’ convoy of gun trucks, sighted approaching the Marte axis for reinforcement. The helicopter gunships also strafed the fleeing criminal elements and scores of them were neutralised”, he said.

Explaining operations further as they concern the North- Central zone, he said troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies conducted aggressive kinetic and non-kinetic operations in the zone progressively. Notably, on 16 January 2021, troops of Operation Safe Haven on stop and search duty, arrested two suspects, Mantau Nabo and Victor Jonathan with one locally fabricated AK-47 rifle and one empty magazine concealed in a tricycle otherwise known as “Keke Napep”.

“The suspects attempted to sneak the items past at a check point at Dong Junction in Bassa LGA of Plateau State on their way from Jebbu Miango enroute Jos Town.

“Suspects have been profiled and have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action”, he said. Relatedly, troops of Operation Safe Haven on stop and search patrol at Mariri arrested one Stephen Yaro, from Kigwanu village in Kauru LGA of Kaduna State.

The suspect was arrested with a locally made rifle concealed under his motorcycle seat. The suspect is presently undergoing preliminary investigation for further action.

“In same vein, troops of Sector 3 deployed at Mararaba Udege in conjunction with troops of 177 Battalion in Nasarawa LGA of Nasarawa State on 15 January 2021, received information about a suspected kidnapper in a hideout at Hawa Biyu moving to unknown location.

“Troops swiftly moved and laid ambush along the route which led to the arrest of the suspect currently undergoing investigation”, he said