By SAmUEL OYADONGHA, Yenagoa
The Joint Task Force code-named Operation Pulo Shield has destroyed 48 illegal refinery camps in the Niger Delta in a renewed offensive against crude oil theft in the blighted region.
Also, 40 wooden boats known as ‘Cotonou boats’ used by the oil thieves were destroyed by the operatives of the Special Security Forces who also nabbed five suspects during the operation that lasted from 10-23 August.
Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force, Lt. Col Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement issued in Yenagoa, also said its operatives deployed at Adamakiri scuttled an attempt by some unscrupulous persons to establish an illegal crude refining camp at Samkiri in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Lt. Col Nwachukwu said, “in Bayelsa State, troops of 343 Regiment and 5 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF deployed to patrol the water ways of Osiegbene Creek in Ekeremor, Brass and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas have stamped out 42 illegal oil distillery camps and scuttled 25 open wooden boats (Cotonou boats), used by oil thieves along Osiegbene, Yeregbene, Otui Lagosgbene and Oyeregbene communities in the aforementioned Local Government Areas.
”In a separate operation, troops of 3 and 19 Battalions covering the Sector 1 Area of responsibility of the Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield have clamped down six illegal refinery sites in Ajudaibo, Ogidigben and Madagho, Escravos in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state.
”During the clamp down operation, the troops recovered and scuttled 15 open wooden boats , 33 large tanks, 127 plastic drums and 16 pumping machines used for their illicit trade; 44 dug out pits used by oil thieves to store stolen crude oil were also sealed up”.
”Additionally, the troops intercepted and impounded a 33,000 litre capacity tanker truck loading adulterated petroleum product from an illegal loading point at Obejiughoton in Delta state.”
In Rivers State, he said, amphibious patrol troops of 146 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF Operation Pulo Shield deployed at Adamakiri scuttled an attempt by some unscrupulous persons to establish an illegal crude refining camp at Samkiri in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State
He said, “acting on intelligence report, the patrol team carried out a cordon and search operation at the community where it uncovered eleven plastic drums containing crude oil floating on the water at Samkiri Creek.
”Investigations revealed that the product was suspected to have been stolen when the Adamakiri tie-in manifold was leaking.
”Items including hoses of various dimensions, a welding gas cylinder with installed pressure gauge, 3 pumping machines and 10 empty drums were recovered from the community.
”The leadership of the community has been urged by the JTF to caution the community youths to desist from illegal activities in the area and engage in lawful activities.
”The patrol team also reported a leakage close to a signpost marker KP-67 located around Pulokiri/Money Ground (between Adamakiri and Creek 6) general area.