Defence Headquarters says troops of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) have discovered and destroyed 107 illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta region in the last two weeks.
The Director, Defense Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, made this known at the bi-weekly news briefing on operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.
Danmadami said the troops had continued to sustain the war against oil theft, illegal refineries and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta through aggressive patrols, raids and clearance operations, amongst other activities.
He said the operations were conducted at the creeks, waterways, high sea, towns and cities of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states respectively, which yielded significant results.
“Troops in the conduct of Operation Octopus Grip and Operation Dakatar Da Barawo discovered and destroyed 107 illegal refining sites, 140 storage tanks, 58 reservoirs, 151 ovens, 68 dugout pits and 22 wooden boats.
“Troops equally recovered 561,200 litres of crude oil, 119,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, one fibre boat, five pumping machines, two outboard engines, 10 new geepee tanks, one tricycle and six vehicles while a total of 9 suspected criminals were apprehended.
“All recovered items and apprehended suspects have been handed over the appropriate authority for further action,” he said.
Danmadami said the troops had on March 19, responded to election disruption within Ogbakiri community in Emouha Local Government Area of Rivers State and arrested 12 armed thugs.
He said the troops also recovered four AK47 rifles, one FN rifle, four AK47 magazines, one pistol loaded with two rounds of 9mm ammunition, one pump action gun, four cartridges, 16 rounds of 7.62mm special and one Hilux vehicle.
In South East, he said the troops of the Joint Task Force, Operation Udo Ka, had within the period neutralised seven members Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) criminals and arrested 32.
He said the troops also recovered five AK47 rifle, 29 pump action guns, three dane guns, four locally made pistol, one double barrel gun, two rounds of 9mm ammunition, 188 rounds of 7.62mm special and 46 empty cases of ammunition.
Others, according to him, include seven live cartridges, three magazines, four boafeng radios, 16 machetes, three knives, 14 motorcycles, one vehicle, five mobile phones and several pairs of uniforms and boots.
“All recovered items and apprehended suspects have been handed over to the appropriate authority for further action,” he said.
In South West, Danladami said the troops of Operation AWATSE had continue to clamp down on the activities of criminal elements within the general area of operations.
He said the troops in conjunction with operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), had on March 10, raided Awuyaya and General paints at Ajah general area in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
According to him, the troops arrested 14 suspected criminals and recovered 5kg cannabis, 7kg illicits drugs, seven bottles of codeine, 6g of tramadol, 5g of methamphetamine and the sum of N3,250 during the operation.
He said the troops also apprehended seven armed thugs attempting to disrupt electoral process on March 18 across the region.
“Troops recovered four AK47 rifles, three Jack knives, one cartridge gun, three mobile phones, one cutlass and 350 sachets of cannabis from the thugs,” he said.
By Sumaila Ogbaje