Oil Theft: Military Arrests 19 Suspected Economic Saboteurs In 14 Days

Oil Theft: Military Arrests 19 Suspected Economic Saboteurs In 14 Days

By Mariam Sanni

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters, DHQ, has disclosed that troops in Joint Task Force, operation DELTA SAFE against oil theft and illegal refineries and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta region have arrested 19 suspected economic saboteurs within 2 weeks.

According to the Director of Defence Media Operations, DMO, Major General Musa Danmadami in a press briefing in Abuja explained that this was achieved through aggressive and increased tempo in raids and clearance operations as well as patrol amongst other activities.

He said that the land, maritime and air component of the Operation DELTA SAFE conducted operational activities at the creeks, waterways, high sea, towns, cities of Bayelsa, Delta and River State to checkmate the activities of criminal elements and deny them freedom of action.

The DMO boss noted that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE in the conduct of Operation OCTOPUS GRIP and other operations discovered and destroyed several illegal refining sites, equipment’s and petroleum products as well as apprehended some suspected criminals.

“​Cumulatively, within the weeks in focus troops discovered as destroyed several illegal refining sites, 1,075cooking ovens, 343 storage tanks, 154 dugout pits and 28wooden boats. Troops also recovered 2 barge, 7 tankers, 56cars, 12 pumping machines, 1 outboard engine, 1 speedboat, 1 tug boat, 7 motorcycles and 1 tricycle. Additionally, troops equally recovered 854,500 litres of crude oil, 1,055,000 litresof Automotive Gas Oil and 2,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosine, 1 AK47 rifle while 19 suspected economic saboteurs were also arrested.

“All recovered items and apprehended suspects have been handed over to the appropriate authority for further action. It is worth mentoring that the sum of Eight Hundred and Ten Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira (810,957,475.00) only were denied oil thieves.

“​Equally, the air component of Operation DELTA SAFE conducted air interdiction operation over Okomabio, identified as illegal refining site which was observed to be active with white and blue coloured makeshift tents. Consequently, the location was targeted and bombarded with several illegal refining equipment destroyed thereby deterring oil thieves from operating within the Niger Delta region of the country.

He added that troops and other security agents have sustained the offensive against the activities of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network criminals in the South East zone of the Country. In furtherance to this, troops conducted operational activities in villages, forests, towns and cities of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States geared towards restoring peace and normalcy to the region. Notably, on 25 December 2022, troops in conjunction with other security agents raided a suspected Indigenous People of Biafra camp at Obowo and Aboh Mbiase Local Government Area in Imo State, however, the criminals fled on sighting the troops. Troops exploited the general area and recovered 1 locally made RPG tube, 3 locally made RPG bombs, 2 AK47 rifles, 2 pump action guns, 30 rounds of 7.62mm special, 58 rounds of MK2 ammo, 9 canisters, 2 AK47 magazines, 2 pump actions cartridges, 1 locally made pistol, 1 dane gun, 3 pairs of combat boots, 11 vests, 2 vehicles and 7 mobile phones among other items.

“​Furthermore, on 31 December 2022, troops had and encounter with the Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network criminals at their checkpoint along Owerri Orlu road in Mbatoli Local Government Area of Imo State. Following the encounter, troops neutralized 5 of criminals and recovered 2 AK47 rifles, 20 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 3 dynamites, 4 AK47 magazines, 2 FN magazine and 2 vehicles among other items.

“Also, on the same day, troops acted on credible information on the convergence of Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network criminals and raided a hotel along Okigwe-Umahia in Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State and arrested 16 suspected criminals. Troops searched the general area and recovered 2 locally made pump action guns, 2 locally made pistol, 1 brownie pistol, 2 MK2 magazines and other sundry items,” he said.

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DMOmariam sanniMusa DanmadamiOil theft