June 23, 2013

JTF nabs eight suspects over SPDC pipeline inferno

YENAGOA — The Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta code-named Operation Pulo Shield, Sunday, said its operatives have arrested eight persons in connection with the recent fire outbreak at a Shell Petroleum Development Company, SDPC, pipeline in Bodo West, Gokana Local Government Area, Rivers State.

Also, five suspected crude oil thieves were nabbed in two separate raids in the creek of the delta.

Spokesman of the Task Force, Lt. Col Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement in Yenagoa said the arrest of the eight suspects was effected by troops of 146 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF.

Nwachukwu said the troops who sighted the fire at about 1.30 am on Wednesday mobilised to the scene where they found the suspects in two tug boats.

He said the suspects upon interrogation,  claimed to be employees of Steve Integrated Technical Service and Sege Marine hired by Shell Petroleum Development Company to fix broken pipelines in Bodo.

The suspects, he said, are currently in Sector 2 Headquarters for preliminary investigations, adding that they will be handed over to an appropriate prosecuting agency if found culpable at the end of the investigations.

Also, troops deployed at Sanbarth have arrested two suspects who specialized in vandalising oil pipelines along Kalamabo and Opukula communities in Akuku Toru council area of Rivers State.

The suspects, Fineface  Shedrack and Solomon Doutimiti, identified as serial pipeline vandals and illegal oil distillers, according to the JTF spokesman, were arrested by troops of 130 Battalion of Sector 2 after three nights of ambush.

According to Lt. Col Nwachukwu, the suspects were hacking into Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) pipelines located in the said community when they were nabbed.

Items including an open boat containing pipe hacking equipment were recovered from the suspects, he said.

“The Commanding Officer who conducted the operation, Lt Col Caius Baushe, has called on SPDC to conduct an assessment exercise on the pipeline, noting that the level of excavation and possible touch on the pipeline cannot be ascertained due to high tide that covered the entire area,” he said.

On its operations in the Western Delta he said, its operatives deployed in 3 Battalion of Sector 1 of the JTF also nabbed three suspects running 3 illegal oil distillery camps in Opumani Gbekebor, Beneth Island of Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state and Agbede forest in Edo state.

He said the suspects were arrested during an anti illegal oil bunkering operation with 4 metal tanks, 236 drums and 13 pumping machines at the illegal oil distillation sites.

According to him, five dug out pits used by the oil theft suspects to store stolen crude oil at the illegal distillation camps were also sealed up by the troops.

The suspects, Samson Kristo, Lawrence Pius and Powede Clerk, who are currently helping in preliminary investigations at the Headquarters 3 Battalion he said will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency.

“During the operation, the troops also intercepted twenty seven open boats used by oil thieves to convey illegally distilled products along Chanomi West in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state,” the JTF Spokesman said.